Off-duty cop removed assailant, court told

Tuesday 16 June 2020 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Crime

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Police intervened in a coward’s punch attack – but the defence say they then arrested the victim instead of the assailant.

Defence lawyer Norman George claimed his client was wrongly held in police custody for 10 days. The High Court has now allowed him out on bail.

The police prosecutor, Senior Sergeant Fairoa Tararo, said that George should wait until he had seen evidence gather by police before making such claims

George argued it was not his client Iorama Ngataua who delivered the punch – instead, he was punched on his mouth and floored by his assailant.

Ngataua is charged for wounding with intent to injure.

George said an off-duty police officer had pulled the alleged assailant away – and another police officer charged Ngataua.

George asked that police check their facts and evidence, or withdraw the charge.

Tararo said George should save his submissions for a trial, not a bail hearing.

He asked the court to further remand Ngataua who has faced similar charges in the past. Being in custody would prevent the accused from contacting the victim.

But if granted bail, Tarato said, the accused must be ordered not to consume alcohol nor enter any licensed premise.

George said this was against his client’s fundamental rights. He said banning his client from alcohol was over the top.

Justice of the Peace Carmen Temata allowed bail for the defendant on the condition that he does not consume alcohol, does not enter any liquor license premises nor interfere with the witness or the victim.

The case is adjourned to July 16.