Justice of Peace John Whitta has stated that conditions in a prison compound may be hard, but inmates still need to be treated well.
JP Whitta made the comments in the Cook Islands High Court on Thursday after defence counsel Wilkie Rasmussen advised the court that his client failed to appear a week before because of fear of being remanded in prison.
Rasmussen said when his client was in custody he was treated badly by inmates and received a dislocated shoulder.
He said the defendant was terrified at the thought
of returning to custody and the defence counsel hopes to have it investigated and see if it did happen.
“He is terrified; on one occasion he went to hospital.”
Rasmussen said he has written to the prison authority on the basis of the matter.
JP Whitta, who is a visiting JP to the prison, said he would like to know the outcome of the investigations.
The defendant appeared in court on two charges of assault on a female.
The matter is adjourned to May 2.
On another matter, Christopher Uka was sentenced to pay a fine of $500 on a charge of refusing to take an excess breath alcohol test.
JP Whitta said around February last year, Uka was stopped by police after he was seen to have been driving on and off the road near a resort.
He said Uka refusing to undergo a breathalyser test was not legal and police were justified with their request.
He said when Uka’s keys were taken off him, he retaliated and it led to the police taking him to the station.
JP Whitta said the defendant was vague in his testimony and refusing a breathalyser test in the courts view was a serious offence.
Uka was ordered to pay a fine of $500, court costs of $50 and disqualified from holding a driver’s licence for the next 12 months.