‘Not a murderer’: JP queries max security remand

Tuesday 9 June 2020 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Crime


‘Not a murderer’: JP queries max security remand

An alleged drug dealer client wants to be moved out of a maximum security holding cell at Arorangi Prison, saying there is no case against him.

Teina Ataera Junior’s bail application is to be heard this week by a judge in New Zealand, by video-conference.

Defence lawyer Norman George acknowledges police found cannabis in his client’s car, parked on his property on April 7 – but says they weren’t his.

A group of boys who went hiking at the Raemaru Mountain that day had discovered two large sacks loaded with utensils and cannabis, George said. They took these sacks and dropped it at the defendant’s compound.

“They brought the sack with them, couldn’t find a secure place, saw the defendants place and dropped the sack there.

“But the background is how he was treated, being put in maximum custody like a serious drug dealer and he can’t see his wife and family.”

Ataera faces a charge in possession of cannabis, possession of utensil, possession of cannabis for the purpose of supply and obstructing police.

George told Justice of the Peace Georgina Williams that Ataera had been in remand for nearly two months, his bail hearing delayed by the Covid-19 travel bans stopping judges coming here.

Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Fairoa Tararo said George’s concern was with his client’s treatment in prison, and that was a matter for the Corrective Services Minister, not Police.

JP Williams in her opinion said holding Ataera in a maximum cell was unnecessary as he did not commit murder.

She adjourned the matter to later this week for George to make his submissions then.