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Saturday 28 October 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Court, National


JP adjourns sentencing of domestic violence accused

Justice of Peace Georgina Keenan-Williams adjourned the sentencing of a domestic violence accused to December 19, saying that an assault on a woman is taken seriously in the Cook Islands.

Petero Naivalu, an expat worker, appeared before Keenan-Williams on Tuesday for a defendant hearing. His lawyer, Lavi Rokoika, vacated the not guilty plea entered by her client and requested that sentencing take place on the same day.

Naivalu admitted to the facts of two counts of assault on a female through his defence counsel, but Keenan-Williams did not agree for sentencing to take place immediately.

She ordered for a probation report to be prepared due to the injuries the victim had suffered and to ensure that the victim’s lost wages would be accounted for.

Rokoika said the victim did not wish to receive any money from the defendant.

Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Fairoa Tararo said the victim wanted to move on but wanted to ensure that the defendant was held accountable and that he would not treat another woman the same way.

Tararo said the victim indicated that she and the defendant were in a relationship, but that she now wanted to focus on her life and move on.

However, Keenan-Williams noted that the victim suffered bruises on her left eye and that, according to the victim’s report, she did not seem to be interested in a relationship with Naivalu.

Keenan-Williams further stated that the victim had been slapped around and that, despite this being the defendant’s first charge, “assault on a woman is taken seriously here”.

She said she wanted to look at the background of the case because the defendant’s actions were out of the “norm”.