A jury of nine women and two men will decide if an Aitutaki man is guilty of supplying cannabis following a two-day trial on Rarotonga.
Justice Christine Grice is
due to give a summary before the jury retires at the High Court in Avarua today.
Oceania Mataiti is charged
with supplying cannabis on Aitutaki between January 1, 2021 and February 8,
Yesterday, Mataiti took the
stand where he was questioned by his lawyer Norman George and Crown prosecutor
The court had earlier heard
from a Crown witness and the police officer in charge of the case on Wednesday.
The defendant, assisted by a
translator, spoke in Maori and told the court he entertained friends at his
Aitutaki home, providing them with food while they brought their own beer,
cigarettes, and cannabis.
The left the cannabis at his
home, he said, when questioned by George
He denied offering anyone
cannabis and said it was the witness’s friends who supplied the cannabis. He
had never purchased, grown or sold cannabis, and had never supplied cannabis to
anyone, the court heard.
Crown prosecutor Crawford
questioned Mataiti about three people he had mentioned who had supplied
Again, he said he didn’t get
the cannabis, it was his friends who obtained it.
He said he didn’t tell them
where to get the cannabis, they asked him, and he told them.
The court heard he was aged
33 at the time of his arrest and that some of the boys associated with him were
aged as young as 13.
Mataiti said he didn’t know
as they were friends of the witness.
They would just turn up at
his place with beer, cigarettes and cannabis, he said.
Crawford put it to the
defendant that he helped them obtain cannabis.
He said no, it was their
decision to obtain cannabis.
In his closing address,
George said there were no photographs or seized items presented by the
He asked why the evidence
was not sent to New Zealand for analysis.
It was a “half pie
prosecution, not good enough,” he said.
“The Crown is calling my
client a liar, he is not a liar.
“You should be more worried
about the witness evidence, he didn’t get charged.”
He said the case was “awash”
with doubt, there were several others involved who had not been charged.
“It wasn’t a single person,
it was a group who bought it (cannabis) together; instead of supply, they
“I call it sharing,
collecting, bringing it together, but not supplying.”
Crawford, in her closing
address, said George had claimed the defendant was looking after his friends,
sharing cannabis with them.
The defendant was lying
about his knowledge of cannabis, she said.
“He was much more experienced
than he let on; he was trying to downplay his role, that it was the others who
Crawford said Mataiti had
made an admission by saying he had brought a bowl of cannabis out of his
bedroom to show the others at his residence.
The witness had no reason to
lie, she said.
Crawford said the legal
definition of supply was broad in giving, sharing or selling, and there was
sufficient evidence that Mataiti supplied it.