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Court briefs 16.12.22

Monday 19 December 2022 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Court, Crime, National


Court briefs 16.12.22
Cook Islands High Court. Photo: Sian Solomon/21110511

Lawyer no-show delays

drink drive case outcome

A man facing charges of reckless and drink driving will have to wait for the outcome of a reserved decision as his lawyer did not appear in court on Friday.  

Tei John Harawira appeared in the Criminal Court at Avarua where Justice of the Peace John Whitta adjourned the matter as defence lawyer Norman George was not present.

JP Whitta adjourned the matter to later in the morning.

About 30 minutes later, the matter was recalled.

JP Whitta said he was reluctant to deliver a decision and rescheduled to Tuesday, December 20.  

Harawira has entered not guilty pleas. According to police, at around 12.13am on February 13, he crashed a pickup truck into a parked car on the main road by The Islander Hotel. 

Conflict of interest

A prison warden facing multiple assault charges was due to be sentenced on Friday, but a conflict of interest has pushed his date in court forward to early 2023

Tepareariki Teokotai Patric Rongokea appeared in the Criminal Court in Avarua for sentencing on common assault and assault with intent to injure charges.

JP John Whitta said he had a “huge” conflict of interest as he knew the defendant.

Defence lawyer Mark Short said he understood the position and agreed he wouldn’t want sentencing to proceed.

The charges stemmed from an altercation at Arorangi Prison.

Last month the Crown said there was an agreed summary of facts, before Short told the court his client wanted to enter guilty pleas.

Short asked for a probation report and requested a sentencing date.

The court heard the defendant and victim work alongside each other at the prison.

On June 12, the defendant, who was off duty, went to the prison about 2am where he found the victim, another prison warden, asleep in a guard room.

The defendant became angry, and yelled before assaulting the victim.

The matter was adjourned to January 19, 2023.

Assaulting a police officer

Michael Teokotai Tou appeared on charges of assaulting a police officer, refusing to give an evidential breath test and careless driving.

He entered guilty pleas to the three charges. 

The court heard on July 26 this year he carelessly drove a car, refused to undergo a breath test and assaulted a police officer on the Back Rd.

JP Whitta said the charges had been in court for a while.

A probation report was ordered and the matter adjourned to February 14.