Teina Bishop found guilty!

Thursday July 21, 2016 Written by Published in Local
Guilty of corruption: Former Minister of Marine Resources, Teina Bishop, pictured at an art exhibition opening earlier this year . 16072031 Photo: Karen Scott Guilty of corruption: Former Minister of Marine Resources, Teina Bishop, pictured at an art exhibition opening earlier this year . 16072031 Photo: Karen Scott

Former Minister of Marine Resources back in court this morning

 

THERE was silence at the Cook Islands High Court yesterday afternoon when the jury reached a guilty verdict against Aitutaki MP and former Minister for Marine Resources Teina Bishop.

The high profile and often intense case came close to a temporary halt as the 11 jurors found him guilty on a charge of corruption by a Minister of the Crown before High Court Judge Justice Colin Doherty.

A visibly shocked Bishop was remanded on bail until nine this morning, where he will once again appear in the High Court to hear a decision on his sentencing date.

The High Court was crowded with prominent figures there to give their support to the One Cook Islands movement leader.

Earlier in the day, Judge Justice Doherty summed up the facts of the case and went over them with the jury, reminding them that they all needed to make one decision, as the law required them to reach a unanimous verdict.

“Sometimes it is possible to bring in a majority verdict, but that can only happen when certain circumstances exist and I will advise on this and if it gets to that point, at least nine from the jury will need to agree one way or the other.”

Judge Justice Doherty said in the two and half weeks the case had taken, most of the evidence had not been assessed and the jury needed to re-examine this if they needed and it would be entirely up to the jury to decide whether it was relevant.

“You don’t have to accept everything that a witness says. You may think it’s truthful but it may not be, so this is a case where you need to apply robust, old-fashioned common sense.

“You need to think about and ask yourselves if you can rely on what the prosecution witness and evidence have shown, to make an important decision,” Judge Justice Doherty advised the jury.

Before jury members retired to make a decision Judge Justice Doherty reminded them of their roles and responsibilities towards the country, the evidence and facts being produced and the witness that had been presented in court.

Following the jury’s decision, Bishop’s lawyer, Rodney Harrison, said he was unsure whether the court needed a probation report. However, Judge Justice Doherty’s decision to confirm the sentencing date today would enable him to seek instructions from Bishop.

Judge Justice Doherty told Harrison and prosecution lawyers Michael Thomas and Nick Williams that there was no need to rush into the sentencing date decision and this morning would be the best time to decide on this.

There was no need for a statutory request for a probation report on Bishop.

He acknowledged the members of the jury for their service and for having to sit in on the longest trial ever to be held in the Cook Islands.

The jurors have been excused from jury service for the next two years.

Bishop entered a not guilty plea on his charge of corruption on the first day of the trial. The court heard that between October 14, 2011 and July 10, 2013 Bishop and his business partner Thomas Koteka received a loan from Leun Thai subsidiary Century Finance. Of this, $250k of this was invested by Koteka so he and Bishop could buy Samade Resort in Aitutaki for $1 million, and much of the evidence centred around the circumstances of the loan.

Bishops trial took almost three weeks, and the jury took more than four hours to reach a verdict.

The guilty verdict will again alter the ever-changing political landscape in the Cook Islands. Bishop, whose true political allegiances have at times appeared uncertain, was leader of the parliamentary opposition until recently, when he resigned under a pre-arranged agreement and handed over the position to Ngatangiia MP Tamaiva Tuavera.

6 comments

  • Comment Link You get a loan to buy a business, that creates jobs and brings in tourist dollars which would be a major source of income in an islands economy, you spent a number of years working for the government and serving your country and you get  arrested and conv Sunday, 18 December 2016 23:03 posted by You get a loan to buy a business, that creates jobs and brings in tourist dollars which would be a major source of income in an islands economy, you spent a number of years working for the government and serving your country and you get arrested and conv

    Message

  • Comment Link Get your Facts Right Sunday, 07 August 2016 10:54 posted by Get your Facts Right

    Give back what belongs to the people??? Are you kidding me? He never stole from his people. You obviously don't live in Aitutaki because if you did you would know that he never takes from his people - he only ever gives and gives and gives. So please enlighten us... What did he steal from his people? Give actual fact

  • Comment Link Neal Pakoti Wednesday, 27 July 2016 17:46 posted by Neal Pakoti

    Is there going to be a Cook Island government that will give a damn about the most Beautiful Cook Islands. People are struggling out in the outer islands. Have some God Damn respect for your fellow man. Your assets need to be frozen and take actions to recover what belonged to the People. Dont forget though from this we can grow, even ugly moments can become positive overcome and nurture once again.

    May God show the true pathway for our peoples to rise flourish for those to follow.

    Kia Orana

  • Comment Link AT Saturday, 23 July 2016 11:48 posted by AT

    Honest politicians and a good political Party leader will be good for start....

  • Comment Link Maria Maoate Friday, 22 July 2016 16:16 posted by Maria Maoate

    corrupt. But the people cant even do anything. Government never listens to the voice of the people.

  • Comment Link Jason tini Friday, 22 July 2016 03:44 posted by Jason tini

    Pretty sad that our politicians are doing such crap , he's one of many that have done wrong ,whilst in the political arena ...how long will his jail sentence be , I guess he'll be out in a week or two , justice system will get him out before you know , he won't be embarrassed or ashamed he'll be at Trader Jacks telling his story at the bar before you know it !!,..COOK ISLAND GOVERNMENT...getting worse by the minute

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