Cook Islands High Court. Photo: Sian Solomon/21110511
A man who evaded the police for a week has been denied a request to further relax his bail conditions.
Oswell Tunupopo is
charged with intent to injure a female. He is yet to enter a plea.
He appeared before
Justice of the Peace Vania Kenning at the Criminal Court on Thursday.
Tunupopo is staying
at the Cook Islands Gospel Society’s Mission House in Nikao under a 24/7
curfew, with exceptions being on Tuesday and Thursday, where he could be taken
to the gym for one hour in the company of the pastor, and from 9am to 4pm on
Wednesday, where he can attend supervised work in Tupapa.
Tunupopo’s new defence counsel Norman George asked for further relaxation of
his bail conditions to allow him to leave the Cook Islands Gospel Society’s
Mission House from 9am to 11am on Monday and 9am to 11am on Friday, in order
for Tunupopo to purchase supplies and food.
Jamie Crawford disagreed with the proposal, saying it was “chipping away” at
strict bail conditions which had been put in place to protect the complainants.
Tunupopo handed himself
to the authorities on July 9 after close to a week of evading the police.
wondered whether the proposed exemptions for Monday and Friday from 9am to 11am
also suggested that the Cook Islands Gospel Society Mission House was not able to
provide the suitable amount of care and protection.
“It is clear the
church can’t meet his needs,” Crawford said. “He has a history of violence and
breaching bail, and there is still a risk of him intimidating the witnesses.”
George told JP Kenning that Tunupopo had been compliant to the curfew and
received a good reference from the church pastor.
facing “petty, nitpicking” conditions, George said.
“This is not
Afghanistan or Russia, people have rights and freedoms here,” George said.
concerns are hypothetical and unreal.”
In assessing the
application for bail, JP Kenning acknowledged the seriousness of the charge.
She denied the
request to further relax Tunupopo’s bail conditions.