The local man, who cannot be named due to a standing name suppression order, appeared before Justice of the Peace Georgina Williams in the Cook Islands High Court on Thursday morning. He faced a single charge of burglary. The man entered a plea of not guilty through his legal counsel. Shop owner Mark Sherwin, the complainant in the case, also appeared before the court to acknowledge he had written a letter asking for the charges to be formally withdrawn. However, police prosecutor Fai Tararo said he would need to speak to his superiors before they could decide whether or not to formally withdraw the charges, and the case was adjourned until June 7.
The total value of the goods in the safe is unknown.
However, it is believed it contained a large amount of cash and other valuable documents at the time it was taken.
“The safe had the shop takings and also money that my nephews, who are 11 and 14, had been saving all year,” said Sherwin at the time the theft was reported.
“We had also prepared our staff bonuses for Christmas and that money was also in the safe. “It has affected a lot of people.”