A ‘human right’ to be bailed – defence

Tuesday May 19, 2020 Written by Published in Crime

An alleged violent offender has been refused bail because of concerns at the risk he poses to the community.


The prosecution argued, in the High Court, that the safety of the public must be paramount.

Metua John is charged with assault with intent to injure, and wounding with intent.

Defence counsel Wilkie Rasmussen told Justice of the Peace John Whitta that he applied for bail on the basis that he did not hold on to the notion that a person should be remanded in custody prior to their case.

Metua was bailed in December on the grounds that he would reside with his parents; Rasmussen requested renewed bail on the same condition.

Keeping John in custody was like sentencing him even before he entered a plea.

Rasmussen said his client had served time for his previous convictions, and that must not be used to keep him in custody.

“If released he should go to his parents. It is his right as a citizen and a human being to be released on bail.”

However, police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Fairoa Tararo said John was charged with intent to injure on September 2019 and was granted bail on December 2019.

His new charge, wounding with intent, was allegedly committed on April 8 this year.

There was no guarantee that John would not reoffend if given bail to stay with his parents, because that failed once, Tararo said.

“Consider the safety of the community, we could ask for a burglar to be remanded. For him a weapon was used in his offence. The safety of the community is at risk.

“There is no guarantee his parents will monitor him, he was on bail under his parents but he reoffended,” Sgt Tararo said.

He suggested that John be mentally evaluated before a bail application is made.

JP Whitta agreed, looking at a mental health assessment report of his past showing that it was unclear why John was reoffending.

He acknowledged Rasmussen’s concern that people can’t get the help they need in Cook Islands, with limited resources for to deal with mental health issues.

He adjourned the case until June 11.

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