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Judge tests positive for Covid-19, rape trial on hold

Friday 17 June 2022 | Written by Caleb Fotheringham | Published in Court, National

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Judge tests positive for Covid-19, rape trial on hold
Judge Dame Judith Potter is down with Covid-19 three days into a two-week trial of a Rarotonga man charged with rape and multiple other sexual offences. New Zealand Law Society/21060427

The jury trial for a man charged with rape and multiple other sexual offences has been put on pause after the Judge overseeing the case contracted Covid-19.

Judge Dame Judith Potter tested positive on Thursday, three days into the trial which is expected to take two weeks.

The jury has been stood down until further notice.

A court staff member said the Judge is doing well at the moment.

The trial will continue with the same 12-person jury and witnesses who have given evidence will not have to do it again, the staff member said.

Lawyer Norman George, who is acting for Pirangi, said the stand down was “no big deal”.

“I take it as an opportunity to touch up other aspects of the case,” George said.

He said he was also busy with other cases.

Moe Pirangi is charged with 14 offences, five of these are charges of sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 12, six are indecent assault on a girl under the age of 12 and three are entering with intent to cause a crime.

In the Crown’s opening statement, the court heard the alleged victims were four girls aged between seven to 12-years-old at the time.

The incidents allegedly took place from around 2019 to 2021.