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Manslaughter accused on bail

Monday January 22, 2018 Written by Published in Crime
Rarotonga’s High Court was busy on Thursday, with defendants facing a wide variety of charges. 18011933 Rarotonga’s High Court was busy on Thursday, with defendants facing a wide variety of charges. 18011933

JUSTICE of the Peace Georgina Williams took some time to deliberate Pera Junior Tamanu Pera’s manslaughter charge at the High Court in Avarua on Thursday.


Crown prosecutor Allison Mills said the court was still waiting for a pathology report and once that was received, the charges could potentially be upgraded. She sought to have Pera remanded back into custody due to the seriousness of the offence and the severity of the penalty, which has a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

She said if he was released on bail Pera ran the risk of interfering with witnesses and reoffending, and she pointed out he had two previous violence convictions.

Pera’s defence lawyer, David McNair, said the investigation was still not complete and police already have evidence from a number of witness statements, so the risk of Pera interfering with witnesses was low.

“My understanding is that he is being kept in maximum security and has a medical condition. He has asthma and he is being held in an enclosed windowless cell, which has to be seen as a form of punishment.”

He said once the pathology report was received, there was always the chance that the charge could be dismissed and that the chances of him reoffending were “slight to non-existent”, as long as there is no alcohol involved.

Reid suggested Pera be granted bail with a no-alcohol condition attached. He said while no evidence had yet been presented to court, Pera had the right to bail, other-wise he would have been held in custody for two months by the time his case could be heard.

Williams granted bail on the presumption that Pera was innocent until a court could prove him guilty. His bail conditions included no alcohol, and Pera was ordered to reside with a relative and away from his mother’s house. He must also report to police twice a week, surrender his passport and obey a curfew.

The case was adjourned for call over, to a date in March yet to be confirmed by the registrar.

A request for name suppression for Teina Kata Tekoronga, who is facing a charge of assaulting a female, was turned down. Counsel said there was some doubt, after see-ing a medical report, if the correct charges were made against the right person.

Police prosecutor Fairoa Tararo opposed name suppression because it was not the defendant’s first offence and he had a history of violent offending. His case was ad-journed until February 15 and his bail conditions continued. 

Metuavaine John Rakei was advised to seek legal counsel regarding the charges he is facing of threatening to kill or do grievous bodily harm and assaulting a female. JP Williams also advised Rakei to attend counselling.

“It will work in your favour”, she said.

Rakei’s case was adjourned until March 1. He was told his charges were serious and he should be ready to take a plea.

“The charges are not going to go away,” Williams said.

No plea was entered by Taoro Ratumu on charges of assault with intent to injure, and his defence lawyer Mark Short requested police disclosure before he could pro-ceed with the case.

“This is a serious offence and we need at least three weeks to work through this,” Short said.

The case was adjourned until March 1.

A passport is being sought for Teaumetua Mahaka Araipu, who has been held in custody because she has nowhere to live.

Defence lawyer Wilkie Rasmussen said Araipu had previously lived in New Zealand with her brother and she was independent and had managed well. However, since she had returned to Rarotonga she had been trapped in a cycle of offences.

“I will talk to probation and facilitate the passport for her,” said Rasmussen.

“Once we have that organised, we can sort out the charges”. JP Williams told Araipu there was some light at the end of the tunnel, “there is some hope for you”. She ad-journed the case until February 1.

Damian Kane Mendes came to Rarotonga with his wife to meet her Rarotongan parents, and on the day of his return, pleaded guilty to three charges of wilful damage, obstruction of a police officer and assault of a police officer.

The New Zealand scaffolding worker was facing his first offences, and his partner had vouched for him, saying his behaviour had been out of character for him. Mendes’ defence lawyer, Wilkie Rasmussen, said Mendes had been extremely apologetic and remorseful, and alcohol had caused him to behave inappropriately.

He was charged $250 plus $50 court costs for assault on a police officer, $100 plus $50 court costs for obstruction and $200 plus $50 court costs for wilful damage along with reparation of $240 and $20 medical fees. His passport was to be released once his fine was paid that day. 

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