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Fine for local man caught with cannabis

Wednesday March 23, 2016 Written by Published in Crime

A local man caught with 1.64 grams of cannabis was fined $400 and sentenced to six months’ probation when he appeared before Judge Justice Dame Judith Potter for sentencing in the Cook Islands High Court on March 18.


Douglas Tau was charged with one count of possession of cannabis, which under the Narcotics and Misuse of Drugs Act 2004, carries a maximum penalty of a term of two years’ imprisonment for two years or a fine not exceeding $5000 - or both.

For Crown Law, Ritua Talissa Koteka said though that the amount of cannabis found was small, the offence was still serious and of increasing concern in the Cook Islands.

Defence counsel Norman George asked that the defendant be discharged without conviction as he was 36 years of age and had not had any previous convictions. Tau was also a successful businessman, he said.

The court heard that on November 28, 2014 a search warrant was executed on the defendant’s home in Upper Tupapa where police found pots containing eight cannabis plants, one clear plastic container containing dried cannabis and one glass container also containing dried cannabis.

Justice Potter said Tau admitted being the owner of the dried cannabis but denied being the owner of the cannabis plants. She acquitted the defendant on the cultivation charge.

She said Tau had pleaded guilty to the charge of possession of cannabis and the court had received helpful submissions from both the Crown and Tau’s lawyer, describing the defendant as a person with considerable promise, with a good education and background. He also operated a successful business.

Justice Potter said Tau was remorseful and apologetic. He acknowledged his wrongdoing, had sought counseling for drug abuse and had the full support of his family and the community.

However, she said she did not approve a discharge without conviction as drug offending was a serious crime within the Cook Islands jurisdiction.

As a condition of his probation, Tau must abstain from consumption of non-prescribed drugs and attend counseling or workshops as directed by Probation Services. He must also not leave the Cook Islands without the approval of the High Court. He was ordered to pay $30 court costs.

1 comment

  • Comment Link Mataio Tuesday, 08 November 2016 13:00 posted by Mataio

    1.64 grams of cannabis and you call that a serious offence. That's just pure dumbness right there. I don't understand your system. You should worry more about the safety of your people and sort out the potholes on roads, drunk driving, Rape, Theft, speeding, male assault female etc. Atleast update your law system. Youse are way behind in the world. So many countries are legalizing this plant, WHY??? Because they done there research, They are not dumb and they make there own choices and decisions. But as for Cook islands, whatever NZ and AUSTRALIA does, youse end up doing too. Thats the thing with you people, when someone says that cannabis is bad we all believe it without even trying to do a little research about the history of cannabis. Cannabis can be very beneficial for some illnesses but very bad if you abuse it. It all depends on how you ingest it. My recommendations for your government is please take your heads out of your ass so maybe you might see, think and hear properly. And worry about things that matters most. Not to offend