Driving charges dominate court

Friday December 15, 2017 Written by Published in Local
Avarua High Court dealt with a large number of defendants on Thursday. 17121426 Avarua High Court dealt with a large number of defendants on Thursday. 17121426

Justice of the Peace Carmen Temata presided over a busy High Court on Thursday with excess blood alcohol and careless driving making up the bulk of charges. 


Nootai Samuel Revi George-Tati was up on charges of driving with excess blood alcohol and careless driving after an accident between a motorcycle and a car on the main road. Defence lawyer Wilkie Rasmussen told the judge it was George-Tati’s first appearance and while he had failed a test breath alcohol test, he hadn’t realised he had drunk so much.

The Education Department IT worker had strong family support, was apologetic and wanted to take full responsibility for the incident, said Rasmussen. George-Tati had also been wearing a safety helmet, he added.

JP Temata said that while she took that into account, her hands were tied.

“I need to take into account the amount of alcohol he had consumed and it was three times over the legal limit, which is dangerously high”.

George-Tati was convicted for driving with excess blood alcohol and fined $500 and $50 court costs. He was disqualified from driving for 12 months and ordered to pay $150 medical costs and $20 for careless driving. He was also ordered to pay reparations to the driver of the other vehicle.

“This is a high fine because the blood alcohol was dangerously high. I hope this will be your last appearance at court,” Temata said. 

The JP said she needed more time to read the excess blood alcohol case against Michael Tekao Ward Brown. Defence lawyer Mark Short requested a special hearing later in the day as his client had just flown into Rarotonga and was needed back in New Zealand for medical treatment. However, due to time restraints, Temata adjourned the case until December 21.

A charge of assaulting a child against Iokimi Narovu was withdrawn after the court was satisfied that he had completed all his diversion requirements.

Five charges of possession of utensils for drug use came before the High Court on Thursday. Okotai Rongo’s case was adjourned till March next year. Ngatupuna Teinakitama pleaded not guilty to his charge and elected to be tried by a judge and jury for that and two charges of burglary. His case was adjourned until February 22 for a sentencing date. Noah Davey also pleaded not guilty to possession of an illegal utensil and elected trial by judge and jury. His case was also adjourned until February 22 to determine a hearing date. His existing bail conditions will remain in place.

Christian Alex De-Wyane Tai pleaded guilty of possessing an illegal utensil, while an adjournment was sought for a charge of possession of cannabis until defence received disclosure statements. There was no sentencing for the guilty plea and both cases were adjourned until February 1, the second without plea.

Jonathan Elsa pleaded guilty to theft and two charges of contempt of court, but defence lawyer  Wilkie Rasmussen told the court there would be no pleas on two assaults on female charges until the credibility of two witnesses had been cleared and they had clarified their statements. The case was adjourned until February 1 on all matters until discussion with witnesses had taken place. Bail conditions were to continue.

A charge of joint burglary was withdrawn after the court was satisfied that defendant Lawrance Makara had successfully completed diversion requirements.

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