Pacific Games delegate charged with thefts

Friday June 21, 2019 Written by Published in Crime

A member of the Cook Islands’ big Pacific Games delegation appeared in court yesterday accused of theft.

But her identity has been suppressed, casting a shadow over the entire team.

The defendant appeared in the High Court in Avarua, before Justice of the Peace Bernice Manarangi. The woman faces at least five charges of theft.

Prosecuting lawyer Norman George requested interim name suppression, claiming the defendant was due to travel overseas next week for the 2019 Pacific Games.

The games are taking place in Apia, Samoa, from July 8-20 and the Cooks are sending a team of over 200 athletes and officials.

The country will be represented in 15 codes: athletics, basketball, football, golf, lawn bowls, netball, rugby Sevens, rugby league Nines, sailing, swimming, tennis, touch rugby, va’a, volleyball, and weightlifting.

Each code is expected to have at least one official accompanying the team.

Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee has chartered flights to take the athletes and officials directly to Apia. 

Lawyer Norman George said arrangements had already been made by Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee officials with regard to the accused woman.

Justice Manarangi granted name suppression, to allow the defendant to travel to the Pacific Games.

But Cook Islands News understands there are questions about whether the defendant will even board the flight to Apia.

Olympic Committee members, including its secretary general Owen Lewis, declined to comment on the matter.

The case has been adjourned to August 15.

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