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Monday 6 May 2024 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Court, National


Court briefs

A woman who was convicted of common assault has received a suspended six-month sentence.

Veronica Eli appeared before Justice of the Peace Georgina Keenan-Williams at the Criminal Court in Avarua last week.

The court heard that in November last year, Eli’s brother and the victim, the sister-in-law, were having an argument in their bedroom and their two young children were crying.

The court heard she went to the room to take the two children away from the argument. However, the victim allegedly attacked her with a knife and she retaliated by punching her in the face.

The court heard that the defendant’s intention was to remove the nephews from the argument.

Eli also made an effort to reconcile with the victim, who does not recall much of the incident as she was highly intoxicated.

JP Williams said submissions by probation were for the defendant to be discharged without conviction.

She said the aggravating factors were that Eli admitted to punching the victim in the face, but it was also mentioned that both parties were involved in the fight.

JP Williams added that a picture showed the victim with a swollen cheek, however, because the victim did not cooperate with the police, it was difficult to assess if it was caused by the punch. 

In mitigation, the court considered the fact that she had no prior criminal record.


Joel Alpanozo’s case has been referred to the Chief Justice for a hearing on May 24.

Alpanozo, who is facing three counts of indecent assault, appeared in the Criminal Court on Thursday last week.

Defence lawyer Mark Short said they would go through the disclosures and hoped to enter a plea by then.

In another matter, Aroiva Setephano admitted to careless driving causing injury and defence lawyer Mark Short requested that a probation report be made before his sentencing.

The matter has been transferred to the Chief Justice for hearing on May 24.