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Balcony verdict to be passed today

Wednesday March 13, 2019 Written by Published in Crime

A verdict is expected to be passed today after two days of trial of Savenaca Virivirisai, 36, at the Cook Islands High Court.


Virivirisai, who is charged with one count of intent to cause grievous bodily harm and one count of assault on a female, appeared before Chief Justice Sir Hugh Williams QC.

It is alleged that the defendant on April 22 last year, attempted to cause grievous bodily harm by throwing the complainant Etati Vero, 24, off a balcony in Nikao. It is also alleged that the defendant assaulted his partner Maria Narara, 34, on the same date.

The defendant is represented by defence counsel Norman George.

The Crown’s legal representative Alex Herman on the first day of the trial presented a number of witnesses including the victim Vero. Vero said they sat at the balcony with two more ladies and were drinking on the night of the incident. He added he felt too drunk and rested at the balcony. Vero said his next memory was waking up the next morning lying on the ground, below the balcony. He said he could not feel his body and called out for help. Vero said he was taken to the Rarotonga Hospital and admitted for the next five days. He was later airlifted to Fiji for further treatment.

Vero said he was advised that he suffered a spinal-cord injury from the incident.

Defence counsel Norman George asked the complainant if he recalled touching the defendant’s partner. Vero replied no.

Yesterday the trial continued with defence counsel George presenting two defence witnesses, the defendant and his partner Narara. Defendant Virivirisai said they were sitting at the balcony and later that night he saw Vero stretch his legs and rubbed his partner’s leg. He alleged that Vero later touched his partner’s thigh using his hands.

“I got up and asked him what he was trying to prove” he said.

Virivirisai said that he punched Vero about five times while asking “what he was trying to prove”.

He said he held Vero out towards the railing to scare him but he somehow lost his grip, resulting in the “accident”.

Second defence witness Narara said there was an argument and it was about Vero touching her thigh. She said she left the unit that Sunday morning and went to the beach where the defendant caught up with her and slapped her.

Narara said after filing the complaint with the police, she submitted two letters, one was to the Registrar of the High Court and the other was to the police seeking a withdrawal on the charge against Virivirisai.

In cross-examination Crown asked Narara why she told the police she was punched and told the court she was slapped. Narara responded that she was slapped.

Chief Justice Williams informed the 12-member jury that the Crown and the defence counsel would be presenting their summing up today.

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