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Court briefs

Monday 29 April 2024 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Court, National

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Court briefs

A number of matters were called before Chief Justice Patrick Keane at the High Court in Rarotonga via an audio-visual link on Friday.

Ngatamaine Pupuke, who appeared from Manihiki through a video call and is charged with four counts of theft as a servant, has been advised to get a lawyer. Crown Law senior prosecutor Jamie Crawford indicated the matter was transferred to the Chief Justice Sitting for progress. At the last call, the defendant had said Opposition Leader and lawyer Tina Browne would be representing her.

However, Crawford said she had spoken with Browne, who said she would not be able to represent Pupuke due to a busy schedule.

Crawford added that they are awaiting potential additional evidence from the police and requested an adjournment.

The defendant Pupuke maintained that she had spoken to Browne, who was currently in New Zealand.

Chief Justice Keane, however, advised Pupuke that she would need to secure another lawyer, as Browne did not handle criminal cases and held the position of Opposition Leader.

“Charges like these need a lot of help … you need counsel.”
The case was adjourned to May 24.

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Charles Tuakana Katu, Tui Matangaro Tupa, and Christopher Denny’s matters for drug-related charges have been adjourned to March 2025 for a defendant trial.

Chief Justice Patrick Keane said the Crown had filed an application for conspiracy between the defendants, but there has been no response to the application.

Defence lawyer Norman George, who represented Katu and Tupa, said he opposed the application. Similarly, defence lawyer Mark Short, who represented Denny, agreed with George.

Short said his client had also denied the charges of possession for cannabis leaves and utensil, and three counts of supply of Class C Controlled Drug and two counts to offer Class C controlled drug.

Chief Justice Keane adjourned the matter to allow the defence to file their memo on Crown’s application by May 10.

Crown Law senior prosecutor Jamie Crawford said they had police witnesses and drug experts, and the trial should take five days.

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The court has set a three-day Judge-alone trial starting on September 23 of this year for a man charged with indecent assault and two counts of contempt of court.

Defence lawyer Mark Short explained that his client, whose identity is under interim name suppression, was not present in court due to work commitments.

Crown Law said the complainant and witness include children and would need witness consent.