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Assaults, drug cases, keep court busy

Monday October 23, 2017 Written by Published in Crime

Criminal court was busy on Thursday with over 59 cases coming before Justice of the Peace Georgina Williams in the Avarua High Court.

 

Thirty-five defendants appeared on an array of charges ranging from excess breath alcohol, through to assault on a child.

Seven cases involving assaults on female cases were heard, as well as seven of possessing a utensil for drug use, and 11 burglary cases.

The day’s session began with Joseph Wachter, who is facing six drug-related charges. Wachter, represented by defence counsel Martha Henry did not enter a plea, and instead sought an adjournment. Henry told the court further charges were being laid, and she would need additional time to seek disclosures.

An adjournment was also sought for Marcus Anderson, who is facing one charge of assault with intent to injure. Anderson is represented by defence counsel Norman George and was said to have just been released from prison when the incident occurred. Anderson previously appeared in the Avarua High Court before Justice of the Peace John Whitta on May 25, charged with assaulting a female.

The matter was adjourned till December 14.

A plea for name suppression was denied later in the court fixtures when George made an application to keep the identity of one of his clients suppressed.

Chase Hunt appeared on a charge of possessing a utensil for drug use..

George told the court that his defendant had been wrongly charged, and the utensil found in the defendant’s possession actually belonged to someone else.

“The defendant was merely holding something that his daughter had found. The cannabis device was found near the fisherman’s wharf in Avatiu. She brought it home, where she gave it to her mother. While it was sitting in the draw at home, the police struck for some unknown reason, and charged the defendant with possession.

He further asked the police to take additional time to review the case.

“The man has been wrongly charged,” George said.

“We don’t want you to over-use your resources. “If the police don’t back off, this case will be defended as if it is the last case on earth,” George added.

The matter was adjourned till December 14, when George suggested he and his client may enter a plea of guilty, if the charge is lowered to common assault.

Thursday’s long court session saw multiple sentencings. Tepaku Uini plead guilty to one charge of driving with excess breach alcohol. The first-time offender was convicted and fined $400. Uini was also disqualified from driving, holding or obtaining a Cook Islands driver’s licence for 12 months. The defendant was also reminded that he could apply for a partial license after six months.

Vaikaloa Taufahema appeared before Williams on two burglary charges. The defendant, represented by Mark Short is facing six dishonesty charges and was described by Police Prosecutor Senior Sergeant Fairoa Tararo as a high risk offender.

Short requested the release of his client, but Tararo strongly opposed the application.

Williams adjourned the matter till November 11, where Taufahema will appear regarding an additional four charges.