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Criminal trials set for November

Monday September 18, 2017 Written by Published in Local

Three criminal trials are scheduled for November this year when the next High Court session is scheduled to take place.


Defence counsel and Crown Prosecution lawyers appeared alongside their clients before Justice Patrick Keane in the Avarua High Court on Thursday, when each matter received a call over and update on its current status.

Indecent assault-accused Andy Andrew appeared first, alongside his defence lawyer Norman George.

Andrew faces one charge of indecent assault, which carries a jail term of up to seven years.

The court was told Crown Prosecutions had submitted a memorandum which highlighted that not all charges were finalised.

Justice Keane, prosecution and defence all agreed applications would be filed by the first Friday of November, to give all parties the appropriate time to prepare submissions.

Andrew will face a trial by jury, and the trial will probably take place in the new year.

Imogen Ingram appeared regarding a charge of careless driving causing bodily injury.

Represented by David McNair, Imogen Ingram vacated her existing not guilty plea and entered a plea of guilty.

It was suggested by Crown Prosecutor Alison Mills that the usual practice for such cases meant that sentencing would take place immediately. However, it was found that a pre-sentence report was required and it was suggested sentencing take place next week.

McNair told the court that Ingram was set to attend a United Nations conference in Geneva and would be leaving Rarotonga tomorrow.

For this reason, sentencing was scheduled for the November sitting of the High Court, which is set to begin on November 27. A victim impact statement and pre-sentence report was ordered to be provided before this date.

A call over for Hewett Napa and Ngateinakore Katu who are accused of assault with intent to injure closed Thursday’s court proceedings.

Norman George represented the pair, who jointly face two charges - assault with intent to injure and assault causing grievous bodily harm.

Napa also faces a separate charge of common assault.

Justice Keane questioned George’s ability to represent both defendants without risk of conflict.

“Do I take it you can represent both without risk of conflict? There will be no cut throat defence in this case?

“Sometimes there can be a difference between defendants facing the same charge, whether the charge is joint or not. But if represented by the same counsel that can be problematic – it may not be in this case but I am putting the point to you,” Keane said.

“No sir, we don’t anticipate that there will be any issues, but if there are, I’m sure we will resolve them,” George said.

The court was told Crown Prosecution intended to call at least seven witnesses, some of whom will be travelling from overseas, making a backup trial date unsuitable.

It is anticipated the trial will take four days, and Keane said it would start during the first week of the High Court session in November.

The defendants, who elected through their counsel to be tried by judge and jury, will be remanded till the date, which is to be fixed by the court registrar.

Existing bail conditions were ordered to continue.

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