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Balcony accused found guilty

Thursday March 14, 2019 Written by Published in Crime

Savenaca Virivirisai, 36, was found guilty of throwing a man off a balcony and convicted by a 12-member jury at the Cook Islands High Court yesterday.

Virivirisai appeared before Chief Justice Sir Hugh Williams QC.


He was found guilty on the charge of intent to cause grievous bodily harm by throwing the complainant Etati Vero, 24, off the balcony in Nikao on April 22.


He was also found guilty of assaulting a female, namely his partner Maria Narara, 34, on the same date.


In summing up, Crown’s legal representative Alex Herman said the crucial fact was that the jury must decide whether Virivirisai did throw the victim Vero, or whether he lost his grip.


“But due to evidence the defendant did throw Etati and caused grievous bodily harm. It can also be sure the defendant assaulted Maria.”


Herman told the jury not to look at sympathies but to look at the evidence. She also said for the assault charge it was not difficult to see the findings on the matter.

Crown said the defendant’s actions were due to anger and jealousy of what he thought he saw and took it out on the complainant.


The Crown said Virivirisai intended to cause grievous harm because he threw Vero off the balcony and it was not an accident.

Defence counsel Norman George said it was the duty of the jury to judge the facts and decide whether the accused was guilty or not.


George said the events of the matter was that people were drinking for hours - which was horrific and one that could cause severe drunkenness.

He said different people reacted differently in certain situations and Virivirisai got angry and as a man who was protecting his woman.


He said Virivirisai was physically provoked, but there was no weapon used. He said it was an accident.

On the assault on a female matter, George said the victim tried to withdraw the charge and they have since been happily reconciled.


Chief Justice Williams advised the jury on his summing up that they must reach a verdict on what they heard in the court room and not out of it.


He said the 12 jurors were the sole judges and it was up to them to make up their minds on what evidence they must accept or reject and reach a decision.


Chief Justice Williams allowed bail for Virivirisai and ordered that he be sentenced on March 22 at 9am.   

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