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Suspended  sentence for  deportee

An unemployed man ‘who lives off the land’ has been convicted and given a four-month suspended sentence for dangerous driving and being unlawfully found.

Placido Paiti appeared before Justice of the Peace Tangi Taoro on Tuesday without any lawyer at the Criminal Court in Avarua.

Police prosecutor senior sergeant Tuaine Manavaroa said this was Paiti’s first matter at the Cook Islands court and he had already spent 66 days in custody before bail.

The court heard that on September 3 last year, he was riding a motorcycle in a dangerous manner at around 8.30am in front of the TEM Store in Tupapa. He overtook the complainant dangerously, with no regard for oncoming vehicles from the opposite lane, and continued to Avarua

The next day on September 4, at around 8pm, he went to a private property and threatened the complainant, and locked himself in her car until police arrived.

Senior sergeant Manavaroa said the defendant was arrested and held in custody for 66 days. They are yet to receive a psychiatric report and he had no means to pay a fine if it was imposed.

The police prosecutor recommended a conviction and discharge to be considered.

Paiti told the court he did have a psychiatric assessment done and was taking medication. He added he was remorseful.

JP Taoro said the court took note of Paiti’s criminal history from his time living in Australia. This included legal issues and a 14-month incarceration sentence for both common assault and aggravated assault. He was also addicted to drugs and alcohol and was deported to Cook Islands in 2018.

However, the court heard Paiti was unemployed, lived off the land and it was his first appearance in the Cook Islands court.

During sentencing, JP Taoro noted that Paiti had already spent time in custody, was on bail, and was taking medication. However, the court did not receive any psychiatric assessment report on his condition

The court noted he was remorseful. Paiti was convicted and given a four-month suspended sentence.