Police to consider petition evidence

Tuesday December 18, 2018 Written by Published in Crime

Cook Islands Police Service will consider the evidence and the exhibits involved in the Rakahanga electoral petition when they are passed to them.

 

The Court of Appeal last week directed the court registrar, Claudine Henry-Anguna, to refer the whole of the evidence and the exhibits to the Commissioner of Police Maara Tetava “for further consideration”.

Cook Islands Party’s Toka Hagai, who won the seat against Democratic Party leader Tina Browne in the June 14 election, was declared “not duly elected” by the court, and his election declared void.

Hagai was found to have “treated” free food and drinks, including alcohol provided at his rally during the election.

In passing its judgment, the court referred the matter to police to decide the next course of action.

“It will, as always, be a matter solely for the police, in consultation with their legal advisers, to decide whether to launch a prosecution,” the court said.

“In such proceedings a different standard of proof will, of course, apply and the determination made by this court on the petition is not to be interpreted in any way as foreclosing the independent evaluation and consideration of the matter by the police.”

Police spokesperson Trevor Pitt said the matter was expected to be subject to consideration as the decision stated.

“The commissioner is aware of the Rakahanga decision and will be abiding by the court order as and when appropriate,” Pitt said.

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