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Accused seeking discharge for fear of job loss

Monday 14 August 2023 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Court, Crime, National


Accused  seeking discharge for fear of job loss
Cook Islands High Court. Photo: Sian Solomon/21110511

A man charged with careless driving and failing to comply and report an accident is calling for a discharge without conviction on the grounds he could possibly lose his job.

Ratu Suliasi Delanimate Tagivetaua appeared before Justice of the Peace John Whitta for sentencing in court at Avarua on Wednesday last week.

Police said the defendant had no prior convictions and had shown remorse following the non-injury incident.

The matter was related to another defendant who had already been through the court system and been convicted and ordered to pay reparation.

Defence lawyer Mark Short said he had already dealt with the co-defendant and had some doubts with regards to the careless driving charges.

Short asked for a discharge without conviction as he had already represented another defendant in the same matter who had been discharged from his employment.

Short said it was a relatively minor matter.

“I believe when immigrants get into trouble, they bolt, it is just a reflection of where they are.”

He said while being a relatively minor matter, no alcohol was involved and that his client would lose his job if he was convicted.

“If he is convicted, he would lose his job; I believe this could warrant a discharge.”

JP Whitta said Short had grounds for a submission, but asked for some evidence from the employer.

“The fact that he might not lose his job is not enough; what I don’t think should happen is you discharge someone so their employer doesn’t find out.”

Short asked if it was relevant that the co-defendant lost his job.

JP Whitta said the matter needed to be backed up by the employer.

“It is a large consequence for something that is minor; I need some sort of statement or view from the employer.

“I don’t think it is an unreasonable application.”

JP Whitta adjourned the matter to October 3.