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18 months’ probation sentence for ‘repeated domestic violence’

Monday 5 December 2022 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Court, Crime, National


18 months’ probation sentence for ‘repeated domestic violence’

A man charged with assaulting his wife and child was told he was on the threshold of going to jail before sentencing.

Bwebwenteiti Tekatau appeared in the High Court at Avarua on Thursday charged with five counts of assaulting a female, two of assaulting a child, and one of threatening to do grievous bodily harm.

The court heard the matter related to incidents over two days in April this year, when in a course of fits of anger and jealousy, Tekatau punched his wife in the head and pulled her hair.

During one attack he attempted to punch his wife and missed, hitting the child instead.

He snatched a phone off the child and later held the child over the edge of a balcony in a threat towards his wife.

Tekatau was under the influence of alcohol.

At 23, it was his first offence.

Justice Colin Doherty said Tekatau’s wife had written to the court, saying she had forgiven him, believing he was a reformed character, and wanting him back.

He had impressed probation and apologised, while he was described in court as a hard worker.

The Crown had recommended imprisonment, Justice Doherty said.

“Your lawyer has filed a submission and highlights your remorse, the fact you have been co-operative, your personal and financial circumstances.”

The aggravating features included the length of the time which the assaults were carried out.

“You did it over a period of some time, I am at a loss to understand your wife’s position,” Justice Doherty said.

“The court often hears this; she is however, adamant of your good intentions and your recognition.

“This is domestic violence, and repeated domestic violence.”

Justice Doherty pointed out, that what was particularly bad, was the abuse of the child to threaten his wife.

“You say you are committed to stopping it, you are on the threshold of jail.

“Sending you to jail might or might not deter you, but it would revictimise your family.

“You will have to put your money where your mouth is, as to where you go from here.”

Tekatau was sentenced to 18 months’ probation with 12 months’ community service, ordered not to purchase or consume alcohol, not to enter licensed premises, and not to leave the Cook Islands without permission from the court.