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Saturday 16 September 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Court, National
Cook Islands High Court. Photo: Sian Solomon/21110511
Heather Joy Webber-Aitu was
represented by defence lawyer Norman George and will appear for sentencing on
She appeared before a jury and
Justice Colin Doherty at the High Court in Avarua on Wednesday and Thursday.
The matter had been before the courts
for nearly two years.
She was convicted for carelessly
driving on the main road in Tupapa, causing injury to the victim Lalagofaatasi
Williams on March 1, 2021.
The jury reached a unanimous verdict
on Thursday and Justice Doherty ordered a probation report to be ready by the
Crown Law senior prosecutor Jamie
Crawford, in her closing submission said the case was a short trial and
Webber-Aitu had elected to give evidence.
She told the jurors to focus on what
happened on the road outside the Hartel Store.
She said the defendant did her own
investigations, but that was her version of the events and they must decide
whether it was credible, or was she a reliable witness.
Crawford said the defendant would not
accept the facts and stressed that the bike crashed into her.
She said the defendant had tried
denying any fault and shifted the blame to the victim.
The facts earlier reported were that
the victim, Lalagofaatasi Williams was driving to the Tems Store while the
defendant left work in Avarua and stopped outside the Hartel Store.
She said the victim saw the defendant
but she (defendant) was not indicating to turn right.
She said the victim slowed down and
kept driving when the defendant made a turn and hit the victim’s bike.
The victim had a broken arm and had
Crawford said the victim was a
credible and honest witness.
George, the defendant’s lawyer, said
the wrong person was charged.
In his closing submissions he said
that the jurors must consider all the facts and evidence.
He said they must ask if the
motorcycle had a proper warrant of witness, did the police inspect the damages,
and claimed that three witnesses saw the bike being removed from the scene.
He claimed police evidence was unreliable.
George further said the victim,
claiming to be a servant of God was dependent on her religious affiliation to
boost her credibility.
He said the victim was driving at a
speed which could have been 60 kmph and not 40kmph.
Justice Doherty said Webber- Aitu was
not required to give evidence or bring other witnesses.
He said it was the Crown who had to
prove the charge beyond reasonable doubt.
He told the jurors that the issue was
whether the defendant was careless in her driving.
He told the jury to focus on what
happened at the time of the event.