Okaytime Marsters outside the Ministry of Justice High Court in Avarua with his lawyer Michelle Tangimama after being acquitted of three charges. LOSIRENE LACANIVALU/23092007
A man facing multiple assault charges against women was found guilty on only one charge of ‘low level assault with no injury’ and fined $550.
A happy Okaytime Marsters walked out of the High Court
in Avarua relieved and content with the decision made by the jury yesterday.
Marsters was also happy that the charges against him
were dealt with on the same day.
After two days of trial, the prosecution and defence
presented their submissions to the jury, who deliberated for over an hour and
returned to the courtroom to give a not guilty verdict to the other three
charges Marsters was tried on.
He was found not guilty of assault on a female for the
alleged incident on February 28, 2022, in which he was accused of hitting the
victim from behind. He was also found not guilty of assault on a female for the
alleged incident on the same day in which he was accused of punching the
victim. He was also found not guilty of assault with intent to injure.
Justice Colin Doherty sentenced Marsters to a fine of
$500 and $50 in court costs for a charge of assault on a female, for which he
was convicted for pushing and slapping the back of the victim’s head.
Justice Doherty said the Crown Law accepted that this
was a low-level assault with no injury. He said Marsters had no previous
convictions, was self-employed and they have heard about his character from
Marsters said he was glad it was over and was happy
with his lawyer Michelle Tangimama.
“I was not sure what the verdict would be,” he said.
This was also lawyer Tangimama’s first defendant
hearing matter and she said: “I tried my best, gave it my all, and I am happy
with the decision of the jury.”
“It is only the beginning for me and I am thankful to
(lawyer) Norman George. I was not really sure how it would go; I threw
everything I had in it and we basically went in not knowing the outcome.”
During the closing submissions yesterday, Crown Law
prosecutor Lucinda Rishworth explained to the jury the matter that was being
disputed – did the defendant assault the victim in the way she had described?
Rishworth told the jury that Marsters had accepted he
pushed her from behind.
She said the victim had a black eye and that they had
photos of it. However, under cross examination Marsters said he did not accept
the photos and that the photos were modified.
Rishworth asked the jury to consider the photos,
videos and doctor’s evidence.
Defence lawyer Tangimama in closing told the jury to
make their decision based on what they saw and heard in the last two days of
trial including yesterday.
She said the matter was about three people against
one, claiming two sisters and a nephew had ganged up against her client. It was
a matter about a “family at war with each other”, Tangimama said.
She said looking at the victim’s medical evidence, it
was unreliable because at the time the doctor examined her, she failed to
inform the doctor that she had had a lump for a long time. She said the doctor
prescribed painkillers and did not hold the victim overnight, indicating it was
Tangimama said that the three Crown witnesses, the
sisters and nephew, were unreliable due to inconsistency and claimed the matter
She added there was not enough evidence to convict
Judge Doherty told the jury before they made a
decision to look at the evidence that they thought was reliable.