Name secrecy over indecent assault

Thursday January 05, 2017 Written by Published in Crime

INTERIM name suppression has been approved by the Cook Islands High Court on a matter relating to an alleged indecent assault on a woman.

 

The defendant appeared before Justice of Peace John Whitta and was represented by lawyer Wilkie Rasmussen.

Rasmussen requested bail for the defendant under section 35/5 of the Criminal Procedure Act and appealed for the discretion of the court.

The court was told the defendant was a first-time offender and the matter was just an allegation, for now, and Rasmussen requested name suppression.

Senior Police Prosecutor Sergeant Fairoa Tararo informed the court that the defendant was to be remanded in custody as it was a serious offence and the defendant could interfere with the victim.

Opposing name suppression, Tararo said the accused in sexual-offence matters are unlikely to be given name suppression, which should only be given to the victims. However, Rasmussen said the defendant is not likely to interfere with the complainant and interim-name suppression can always be ordered by the court until the defendant enters a plea and it can then be lifted.

“The procedure is usually to grant it until the defendant returns to the court and enters a plea then the name suppression can be lifted. It is just an allegation until proven in court,” Rasmussen said.

JP Whitta granted name suppression and bail to the defendant, with bail conditions of not to interfere with the complainant and the family, not to contact the complainant and family and not to leave the Cook Islands without the approval of the High Court.

 

The defendant was also ordered to surrender his passport to the court by 4pm.

The matter has been adjourned to February 2 for a call over.

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