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Coconut tree smash earns $100 fine

Sunday October 29, 2017 Written by Published in Crime

A local man charged with careless driving after he fell asleep behind the wheel of his car and hit a coconut tree, was convicted and fined $100 when he appeared before Justice of the Peace John Whitta on Wednesday.


Teariki Teanuanua Anthony Matenga appeared without a lawyer, but was advised of his right to seek legal representation. However, he told the court he wished to proceed, and entered a plea of guilty.

The police summary said that on October 15, Matenga had driven his grandfather’s car in the early hours of the morning to pick up a friend who had told him she was intoxicated and needed transport.

After arriving at his destination he had been told his friend had already left with someone else, so the defendant drove home.

He had fallen asleep behind the wheel after passing the Youth with a Mission building and had veered off the road, hitting a coconut tree on the inland side.

The court was told it was Matenga’s first time in court and that no-one else had been injured in the accident.

Matenga was convicted and fined $100, and ordered to pay court costs of $50. 

Joran Teenemi Rennie appeared on a charge of driving with excess breath alcohol.

Rennie, who also had no lawyer, was advised of his right to seek legal counsel, but asked to enter a plea, of guilty.

Whitta said that because Reenies’ breath alcohol level had been so high, he would have to adjourn the matter. He said the fine that accompanied that level of intoxication exceeded his jurisdiction and would need to be heard by a panel of three Justices of the Peace.

The case was adjourned to November 15 and the defendant was bailed at large.