Bishop stands trial next month

Monday June 27, 2016 Written by Published in Politics
Opposition leader Teina Bishop, pictured in parliament last week. 16062438 Opposition leader Teina Bishop, pictured in parliament last week. 16062438

OPPOSITION leader and Aitutaki MP Teinakore Bishop will stand trial in a high profile case at the Cook Islands High Court next month.

 

Bishop last appeared in April before Justice of Peace Bernice Manarangi and was represented by lawyer Brian Mason.

Last year Bishop entered a not guilty plea on a charge of corruption relating to his dealings with international fishing company Luen Thai during his time as Minister of Marine Resources.

His current bail conditions state that he is not to associate with any of the Crown witnesses.

Three weeks have been put aside for Bishop’s case to be heard.

The charge is in relation to Bishop and business partner Thomas Koteka receiving a loan from Leun Thai subsidiary Century Finance. A total of $250,000 of this was invested by Koteka so he and Bishop could buy Samade Resort on Aitutaki for $1 million.

The prosecution alleges there is a link between this and the granting of 18 fishing licences to Huanan Fishery.

Bishop allegedly used his “close relationship” with Leun Thai to secure that loan, and evidence of Skype conversations between Bishop and a Leun Thai associate have been submitted.

Under the Cook Islands Crimes Act 1969, a Minister of the Crown who corruptly accepts or attempts to obtain any bribe for himself or any other person can face a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.

The matter in July will be heard before a judge and 12 jurors and a translator of Maori language will be present.

Bishop will be the leader of the opposition until June 30 when a pre-signed resignation comes into effect. His position will be re-assessed in light of the outcome of the court case.

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