Vaikaloa Taufahema appeared before Justice of the Peace Georgina Williams in the Avarua High Court last Thursday.
Short said he had previously represented the defendant “pro bono” and had done the same for a number of Taufahema’s relatives.
Pro bono work is professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment and is often provided to people unable to afford it.
Short said because he had acted on behalf of family members previously for free, he had hoped they would be willing to pay for his services for the 11 matters now before the court.
However, they were unable or unwilling to even pay a deposit, which had prompted him to apply to withdraw his services, leaving Taufahema unrepresented.
Police Prosecutor Senior Sergeant Fairoa Tararo asked for an adjournment so the defendant could seek new legal counsel.
He also asked that the defendant be remanded back in custody, until he could find legal representation.
Taufahema asked if he could speak for himself, but Williams told him to wait.
The defendant then said he had written down what he wanted to say and hoped Williams would read it.
Taufahema said that he was overwhelmed with emotion and felt that he would not be able to read aloud what he had written without his emotions taking over.
“I appreciate that,” Williams said after reading the notes from Taufahema.
“However, due to the nature of charges and your history, I will have to have you remanded back in custody until you are able to find yourself suitable counsel.
“So you will have to spend the next week trying to find a lawyer.”
Taufahema said that he had struggled to find a lawyer who could help him. His brother, who was seated in the public area, then stood and said that he would try his best to help Taufema.
Lawyer Wilkie Rasmussen said he would talk to the Cook Islands Law Society and see if he could find legal counsel for the defendant.
Taufahema will appear in court again on November 23.