Nine months prison for assault

Wednesday November 30, 2016 Written by Published in Crime

A MAN who has had his case drag on since last year was sentenced to nine months imprisonment in the Cook Islands High Court.


Seremaia Labaibure appeared before Judge Justice Christine Grice for two charges on one count of assault on a female and one count of intent to injure.

Crown Laws Alison Mills informed the court that the maximum penalty of such offences was 10 years imprisonment.

The court heard that on October 17 last year the victim, who is Labaibure’s partner, consumed alcohol with family members and upon returning home she had an argument with the defendant.

Mills said the victim and defendant argued, he punched her, the victim made comments about the defendant’s ex-wife and family and the defendant got angry and started punching her again.

She said the victim suffered from swollen eyes and nose and bruised forearms.

In mitigation, defence lawyer Mark Short said Labaibure and the victim have been in a relationship for two years and now have a child.

He said it is after the counselling sessions that the partners have been able to understand the previous history brought about in their arguments and understand their actions.

“The victim said she fairly contributed to the arguments and they both have shift work so they can take turns looking after their baby,” Short said.

He said Labaibure had left it in the hands of the court to make the decision.

Justice Grice said for the charge of intent to injure there is a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and for the charge of assault on a female it is a penalty of two years imprisonment.

Grice said the matter both related to one incident.

Quoting from a similar court matter, Justice Grice said: “Domestic violence in any shape or form is unacceptable.”

“Cook Islands have taken steps of campaigning and in publicly trying to create awareness about domestic violence in the island,” Grice said.

She said the starting point of imprisonment for Labaibure was 12 months imprisonment, but his early guilty plea and ensuring the victim did not have to go through a lengthy hearing were mitigating factors.

Grice said the defendant was the main bread winner and the baby was young and dependent on him.

She said the victim has urged the court to be lenient and she was in court with the baby to show their support.

In sentencing Grice said while it is going to be a hardship for the victim and the baby for the charge of intent to injure the defendant was charged to six months imprisonment and 12 months probation.

For the charge of assault on a female, he was sentenced to three months imprisonment, but to be served concurrently with the first charge.

Labaibure was also ordered to pay medical costs of $20 and court fee of $50.

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