‘Assault case needs answers’ – parents

Friday August 18, 2017 Written by Published in Local
The victim of the alleged stabbing suff ered deep wounds on his thigh. 17081745 The victim of the alleged stabbing suff ered deep wounds on his thigh. 17081745

The family of a young stabbing victim is demanding full disclosure from the Cook Island Police Service as to why critical details about an incident in which the 17-year-old was allegedly stabbed with a bottle were suppressed by police prosecution in a recent High Court trial.

 

The parents of the victim, who allege their son had a bottle smashed into his head and was stabbed in the thigh with a broken beer bottle, believe a man who was discharged without conviction has to be held to account for the attack on their son.

None of the details about the assault, injuries sustained, victim impact statements were presented by police during the court case, which resulted in Tamati Mahia being discharged without conviction on a charge of common assault.

The parents believe the common assault charge stemmed from police prosecution giving a heavily watered-down version of the incident, claiming the victim was merely “rugby-tackled” by the older Mahia.

No attacks with a bottle, stabbing or serious injuries were ever mentioned by police during their summary of events. The parents allege there has been a deliberate attempt by police to suppress details of the incident.

They say this is abhorrent, especially after a formal complaint of their son being assaulted and badly injured was formally laid with police and a statement signed. Nothing ever came of that complaint, they say.

The parents claim to have been advised by police sources that the matter has been kept under wraps because of a connection between a parent of the defendant and a senior police officer. Police declined to answer questions regarding this allegation.

After the matter was brought to the attention of Police Commissioner Maara Tetava, he confirmed there would be a prosecution review of the Mahia file, “under the broad context of the assault incident.”

This implies the prosecution division will be examining its own recent actions and procedures.

However, the victim’s parents say this isn’t good enough and is a clear conflict of interest. Their actions and everything they failed to do should be investigated by someone who is capable and independent of the police force, they say.

In a statement issued yesterday, Tetava said, “While there is another defendant involved in the incident, police and Crown Law have commenced considerations in respect of further legal action related to the involvement of Mahia.”

“This review indicates possible further charges - in which a Victim Impact Statement will be sought.”

He confirmed the “door was not shut” on the incident.

Because of this Police Service was not in a position to publicly debate its investigations and findings through the media, he added.

“In terms of any allegations levelled at the police, the Commissioner will not be engaging with any talk that is untrue and unnecessarily exacerbates an already sensitive process that is ongoing. The police want to ensure there is integrity to the process and for the court to determine a just course of action.”

But the distraught parents say there’s been little demonstration of integrity or transparency from police, despite their appeals and phone calls asking for answers. The issue is continuing to gain traction in the community and has been widely discussed on social media.

The victim’s mother says they thought there would be an attempt by the Commissioner to contact them and arrange a meeting to hear their concerns as the case is serious.

A second man involved in the Mahia incident is to appear in the High Court. CINews understands the man, in his early 20s, is charged with common assault.

It is alleged that the second man threw some punches at the 17-year old minor before the victim was bottled and stabbed by the second man. In his complaint laid with police, the victim has alleged Mahia was responsible for smashing a bottle against his skull and stabbing him in the thigh.

“For trying to be kind and console the attacker’s girlfriend after he says he saw her get into trouble, our son’s kindness was misinterpreted and he was beaten for being worried about the young woman.

“He was being kind. The thank you he got was to be beaten and scarred for life. It has been really traumatising for him and our family.”

Police also would not respond to a question as to whether Mahia would be permitted to leave the country, given that investigations into the stabbing incident had resumed.

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