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Brawler convicted, sentenced for his part in Nikao scrap

Saturday 24 February 2024 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Court, National

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Brawler convicted, sentenced for his  part in Nikao scrap

A man involved in a mass brawl on Rarotonga has been convicted and sentenced for his part in the fight.

Ngatungane Tamarangi appeared in the Criminal Court on Thursday charged with fighting in a public place.

The charge arose from a brawl which erupted outside Super Brown Nikao on the afternoon of January 28, 2024.

Police said the defendant had been given the opportunity to seek legal advice.

Tamarangi had entered a guilty plea before Justice of the Peace John Whitta convicted and sentenced him to a three-month suspended sentence, then ordered him to pay $50 court costs.

Earlier in the week, JP Whitta sentenced three men for their roles in the same brawl.

Those who choose to fight in a public place were blasted as “selfish” by JP Whitta during the sentencing Albert Junior Nicholas, 18, Rui Meti Nicholas, 19, and Juranice Marsters, 17, all of whom appeared before him in the Criminal Court in Rarotonga on Wednesday, each man having pleaded guilty to fighting in a public place.

The January 28 brawl occurred less than three months after a brawl at Rehab Rarotonga landed two nightclub employees in hospital with stab wounds.

JP Whitta said instances of public fighting were increasing in the Cook Islands – the scuffle the three men took part in evoking an “angry and bitter” response from the community, with some viewing the sentences being handed to brawlers as “light”.

“However, public sentiment is not to be taken into account in sentencing,” JP Whitta said at their sentencing.

Each man was ordered to come up if called upon within three months, and ordered to pay $50 court costs.