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Seventeen on assault charges

Wednesday September 09, 2015 Written by SM Published in Crime

Seventeen assault-related cases were brought before Justice of the Peace Bernice Manarangi in the High Court on Thursday, September 3. 

Okirua Robert Manuela pleaded guilty to two charges of common assault and theft of a laptop. A sentencing date was set for October 21 and a probation report ordered.

James Junior Cummings was convicted and sentenced to 12 months; probation on a charge of assaulting his mother during an argument.

Andrew Remuera pleaded guilty to a charge of assaulting a female. Police Prosecutor Martin Iro requested that a probation report be provided before the sentencing date on October 1.

Trevor Tiro appeared for sentencing on three charges of assaulting a female, breaching his probation conditions and wilful damage. 

Defence counsel Mark Short told the court that discussions with Tiro and his partner, had revealed that the assault had escalated from a small disagreement. A letter was read out in court from his Tiro’s partner in defence of his actions. She stressed the hardship they both faced while trying to make ends meet in a difficult situation but also highlighted his qualities as a young supportive father. 

Tiro was convicted, sentenced to 18 months’ probation and fined $840 for reparations and $20 for a medical report.

Junior Vaine Murare appeared for sentencing on two charges of assaulting a female. Because it was Murare’s first appearance and there were mitigating factors, police prosecutor Manavaroa recommended a sentence of 12 months’ probation. Justice of the peace Manarangi agreed, with the addition of  a $60 fine to cover court costs.

Edwin Tereapii Apera appeared on a charge of assaulting a female. Probation Services requested a one-week adjournment as they had been unable to obtain ar final probation report. 

An objection was made by the defendant in his defence, as Probation Service staff had said at his previous court appearance that the report would be conducted a couple of days after the hearing. However, had not been the case, as Apera had only been contacted the day before his latest court appearance to schedule a time. JP Manarangi apologised to Apera on behalf of Probation Services for failing to do their job in a timely manner and granted an adjournment until September 10.

Andrew Remuera, Agostini Inatea Heather, Russell Tukaroa Potoru, Christian Hosking, Aaron Pokino, Tuaine Zekaria, Teremoana Panapa Matai, Teariki Matenga, Karika Tuake all appeared on a charge of fighting in a public place. 

Defence counsels David McNair and Mark Short told the court that an application for diversion had been presented to police and they were now waiting for a response. Police prosecutor Manavaroa confirmed that a decision has yet to be made, as the Police Commissioner had been away overseas and had only just returned. A request for a further adjournment was made to allow police time to reach a decision. All nine defendants will return on October 1.

David George Taraare appeared on a single charge of assaulting a female. Defence counsel Norman George asked for the case to be adjourned for one week as he was in discussions with the police to have the charge withdrawn. JP Manarangi granted the adjournment and Taraare will return to court on September 10.

Paul Napa appeared on a charge of common assault. Defence counsel Short said he had been talking to the police about having the case discharged as the victim no longer wanted to pursue the case. An adjournment was sought until October 1 to allow time for documentation to be collected to support a discharge application.

Angela Kalani Tuaine Taoro appeared on a charge of careless driving causing bodily injury. Defence counsel Mark Short confirmed that a written letter had been sent to the Cook Islands Police requesting they review the case evidence again. 

He said a complaint had also been submitted to police in relation to the actions of the arresting officers. Police prosecutor Martin Iro confirmed police were still processing the case and agreed with the request for a further adjournment. Tararo will return to court on October 1.

Morey Junior Vati appeared on a charge of exceeding the breath-alcohol limit while driving a motor vehicle. However, defence counsel Mark Short said he was unaware Vati was scheduled to appear. He said a defended hearing had been scheduled three weeks earlier, however due to serious anomalies in the case had required a further adjournment. 

Short highlighted two major issues with the case. Firstly there was the fact that Vati had been unconscious when blood was taken for testing and secondly, the consent form that allowed the hospital to take the blood test had been signed by someone other than the defendant. JP Manarangi granted an adjournment until October 1 to allow police time to get the case sorted out, with the possibility of withdrawal of the charge.

Joseph Brown appeared on a charge of driving while exceeding the breath alcohol limit. Police prosecutor Iro asked the court to withdraw the charge on the basis of insufficient evidence. Defence counsel Tony Manarangi agreed. 

Opura Teremataora Puia was granted an adjournment until October 1 to allow time for his counsel to review his case and to obtain disclosure documents. Puia faces four separate charges of failing to stop on demand, assaulting a constable, driving while being disqualified and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Samuel Kautai entered a plea of guilty for a charge of driving while exceeding the breath-alcohol limit. Police said Kautai tested at 256mg of alcohol per litre of breath. Kautai was convicted, sentenced to a 12 month disqualification of his driver’s licence and fined $500 plus $150 for a medical report plus $30 court costs. --SM

Sharnia Kim Matarangi Metuarau appeared on a charge of burglary. Defence counsel Mark Short apologised to the court for not being able to proceed as he was unwell and had been unable to seek instruction from his client. He requested an adjournment to October 1 to allow him time to review the case.

Solomone Taufahema pleaded plea of guilty to two charges of being unlawfully found on premises, and burglary. A sentencing date was set for September 29 and a probation report ordered.  Teaumetua Mahaaka Araipu appeared on a charge of burglary. Defence counsel Mark Short apologised to the court for not being able to proceed as he had been unwell. He requested an adjournment until October 1 to allow him time to review the case. Until then Araipu remains in custody. 

Teokotai Taruia on a call over on a number of charges. Defence counsel Brian Mason said Taruia’s long-awaited medical report had now been received, but it remained vague as to the specifics of Taruia’s condition and his ability to enter a plea. He confirmed Tairua had been presecribed appropriate medicine Taruia and accommodation arranged for him. He asked for an adjournment until September 10 to allow him time to find out exactly how the medicine would be administered and to arrange for Taruia’s future carer to be present in court when his client was released.