24 cases before the High Court

Wednesday January 25, 2017 Written by Published in Crime

IT WAS a busy start of the year for the Cook Islands High Court with 24 matters called before Justice of the Peace John Whitta on January 19.


The cases involved four excess breath alcohol and three excess blood alcohol charges, five burglaries, five assaults on a female, three common assaults, three assaults with intent to injure, two joint burglary matters, two theft and two contempt of court offences.

Other offences were fighting in a public place, indecent assault of a girl under the age of 12, escaping from lawful custody, no rear-view mirrors, failing to stop on demand, refuse to undergo blood alcohol test, carrying an offensive weapon, breaching probation and threatening to kill.

On the charges of escaping from lawful custody, no rear-vision mirrors, burglary, assault on a female and two counts of contempt of court Jon Taupupu Rio, through defence counsel Mark Short, entered a guilty plea to all charges.

The court heard Rio was jointly charged with his partner Petrena Tiatoa, who also appeared in court on burglary and contempt of court charges.

Short requested the court for both partners to make their plea and be sentenced one after the other.

Short advised the court both Rio and Tiatoa were currently residing and working in Aitutaki and will appear before the court once a sentencing date is set.

He requested for a probation report to be prepared, sentencing to be held on April 12 and bail conditions to be cancelled.

Police senior prosecutor Sergeant Fairoa Tararo did not object to Short’s request and asked for sentencing to be held before three Justices of the Peace.

JP Whitta lifted the bail conditions on both defendants and adjourned the matter for sentencing on April 12.

On a joint burglary charge, Daniel Mare’s counsel Wilkie Rasmussen entered a not-guilty plea.

The court was told that on October 30, Mare broke into container belonging to a Titikaveka resident.

Sgt Tararo said the court must have a callover date and bail conditions must continue.

Rasmussen, however, requested the court to reconsider Mare’s bail conditions as he works two shifts a day.

Sgt Tararo said the bail conditions had no restriction on Mare’s working conditions.

JP Whitta said Mare must finish work in night and go straight home, stating that prosecution opposed lifting bail conditions because the offence committed was done at night.

The matter has been adjourned to March 30 for a callover to have the hearing confirmed before three JPs.

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