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Tourist fined for resisting police at Rarotonga Airport

Monday 29 April 2024 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Court, National

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Tourist fined for resisting police at Rarotonga Airport

Tourist fined for resisting police at Rarotonga Airport

However, the charges of drunk and using indecent obscene language in a public place were dismissed without conviction for Irene Joy Edwards.

Police prosecutor senior sergeant Fairoa Tararo in his submission to the Justice of the Peace John Whitta at the Criminal Court on Wednesday last week said Edwards had behaved disorderly and resisted police at the airport on April 16.

Senior sergeant Tararo argued that Edwards was drunk and needed to be held accountable for her actions, which unfolded in a public space with passengers, children, and staff present.

He acknowledged that alcohol might have been a factor, but emphasised the need for a strong stance from the court.

“This kind of offending should not be condoned, it was in a public place,” senior sergeant Tararo said.

Defence counsel Mark Short, who entered guilty pleas for Edwards, said the defendant was remorseful, it was an error of judgement and she underestimated the impact of drinking at high altitude.

Short also submitted letters of character reference for the defendant, highlighting her contributions to youth development.

Additionally, he submitted a letter of apology to the police and the court, with another letter to be handed to Immigration.

Short said Edwards had spent 48 hours in prison and had a lot of time to review what happened but no one was injured and that she was not herself.

He asked for a discharge without conviction stating that his client had contributed a lot to the community.

“Spending time in prison is punishment enough for her.”

JP Whitta acknowledged that the defendant was a first-time offender and submissions showed that she lived a responsible life, assisting in the community in roles relating to education and culture.

“These events would appear to be very much out of character.”

He explained that sentencing consistency allowed the court to consider a discharge without conviction for the charges of public drunkenness and obscene language, respectively

However, JP Whitta acknowledged a long-standing distinction for offences against police performing their duties and convicted her of resisting arrest.

Edwards was further ordered to pay court costs of $50 for each of the three charges.