Repeat offender faces heavier sentence

Thursday October 13, 2016 Written by Published in Crime

FOR BREACHING probation and refusing a breathlyser test Okotai Rongo appeared before Senior Justice of Peace John Kenning for sentencing on October 6 at the Cook Islands High Court.


However, due to jurisdictional limitation, JP Kenning could not sentence Rongo.

Rongo’s first offence was in 2009 where he was sentenced to pay a fine of $100 and disqualified from driving. Three months later he appeared in court for driving while disqualified and, two weeks after that, he was in court again for breaching probation and community service orders.

In July 2011, he was charged with drink-driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury and placed on 12 months’ probation.

On April 3, 2014 he was sentenced to six months imprisonment for his eighth charge.

Defence lawyer norman George said his worst year of offending was in 2011 with some bad moments in 2014.

In mitigation, George said his client had a good job and it would be a shame if his life would be disrupted if imprisoned.

However, the prosecution objected and recommended a custodial sentencing stating that Rongo has had a continuous record of such charges.

JP Kenning said this was Rongo’s third conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol, or refusing to give a sample, and he could impose a hefty fine but it would be $500 and it doesn’t have any impact.

George said Rongo already paid a fine of close to $2000 for a previous charge and he was ready to pay any amount of fine imposed.

JP Kenning said jurisdictional limits do not permit the court to impose a fine greater than $500.

“This is not considered hefty enough, perhaps a hefty fine and lengthy term of disqualification may have the right impact; accordingly the matter is adjourned before three JPs.”

Rongo is remanded on bail on the condition he does not purchase or consume alcohol.

Kenning informed Rongo this was his test and he had an opportunity to change things around.

The matter was adjourned to December 7.

Meanwhile, assault on female matters recorded the highest number of offences that were brought before the High Court.

With 28 matters called before JP Kenning, there were eight for assaults on females.

With this, there were five burglary and theft matters, three contempt of court, one breaching probation and escaping lawful custody, two common assault and seven driving related chargers with a cannabis offence.

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