Drink-driving charges land 12 in High Court

Thursday 16 April 2015 | Published in Crime


Twelve traffic-related cases were brought before Justice of the Peace Pae Tuteru in the High Court on Thursday, April 9.

Lala Ueseu, Marcelo Rairoa, Sepataio Nicholas, Miimetua Akaroa, Ngametua Rani, Raineel Kumar and Opura Puia all faced charges of exceeding the legal amount of alcohol allowed in the breath or bloodstream.

Ueseu did not enter a plea due to his legal representative needing more time to investigate his case, which was then adjourned to May 7.

Rairoa, however, pleaded guilty to his charge and will be sentenced on April 30.

Nicholas’ defence counsel Mark Short said it had been difficult locating his client to review the case and to pursue with any further instructions. He asked for the case to be adjourned until April 16.

Akaroa entered a plea of guilty driving with excess breath alcohol. A probation report was ordered and a sentencing date set for May 7.

A bench warrant for Rani’s arrest was issued after he failed to appear in court.

Kumar entered a plea of not guilty through defence counsel Norman George. An application was submitted for interim name suppression, but was declined by JP Tuteru.

Puia was convicted and fined $200 plus $30 court costs and was ordered to pay $150 in medical costs. He was also disqualified from driving for 12 months.

Police said Puia had consumed alcohol before losing control of his motorbike and crashing along the sea wall in Nikao. A blood test at Rarotonga Hospital showed he had 152 milligrams of alcohol per litre of blood.

Kaitara Nicholas, Ngatokoroa Houroa, Norma Tairi, James Kimiora Harry and a female with name suppression all appeared on charges of careless driving.

Nicholas did not enter a plea and defence counsel Norman George asked for the case to be adjourned until April 23.

Houroa entered a plea of not guilty to a charge of careless driving. Defence counsel Rasmussen sought a defendant hearing for June 18.

Tairi pleaded guilty to charges of careless driving causing injury and exceeding the legal breath-alcohol limit. An application for name suppression was declined by JP Tuteru. Tairi will return to court for sentencing before appearing before Justice Potter on May 22.

Harry did not enter a plea to two charges of failing to stop to ascertain and render assistance and careless driving causing injury. JP Tuteru advised him to seek legal advice and to return in three weeks with a plan to proceed with the case. Harry will next appear in court on May 7.

A female with name suppression appeared on a single charge of careless driving causing injury.

She entered a plea of not guilty and elected a trial by judge and jury. The case will be heard on May 25.

A warrant of arrest was ordered for Punua Fariu after he failed to appear in court.

Peter French was granted a partial licence after successfully serving six months of his 12 month disqualification from driving.