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Domestic violence case: ‘No one deserves to be treated like that’

Thursday 8 December 2022 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Court, Crime, National

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Domestic violence case: ‘No one deserves to  be treated like that’
Cook Islands High Court. Photo: Sian Solomon/21110511

A Justice of the Peace has told a man while sentencing him for assaulting his partner that domestic violence is ignored by some and excused by others in the community.

Ngamata Purotu entered a guilty plea to assaulting a female when he appeared in court in Avarua on Wednesday.

Justice of the Peace John Whitta said Purotu’s partner suffered facial injuries, including a split lip and swelling to the eyes and face, after he placed his hands over her face and started punching her.

“No one deserves to be treated like that.”

In sentencing Purotu, JP Whitta said the goal was to discourage and eliminate domestic violence in the community.

Purotu was sentenced to 12 months’ probation, told to refrain from consuming alcohol, not to enter a licenced premises, not to leave the Cook Islands, and ordered to pay $20 towards medical costs and $50 court costs.  

JP Whitta said: “This (assault) occurred with a child in the house; there is no place for this.”

He said domestic violence was ignored by some and excused by others in the community.

The court heard it was Purotu’s first appearance on domestic violence charges, although he had a history of drink driving convictions.

Police recommended multiple options, including a suspended sentence or probation.

JP Whitta said both options had negative and positive factors.

He said he was aware the defendant’s partner worked with his wife at Cook Islands Trading Corporation and asked the court if everyone was happy for him to go ahead with sentencing.

“These matters are not discussed in our house,” he said. “There is no imprisonment today, submissions are really good.”

The court heard Purotu, 33, who had been drinking, had been in discussion with his partner prior to the assault.

The couple have an eight-month old child and Purotu is employed.

The court heard Purotu had a supportive employer.

He had two previous drink driving convictions, and had been convicted for driving while disqualified.

Alcohol was a consistent factor in his offending and police had asked that Purotu understand that he had done something wrong.

“Your sentence reflects what you did and should be a message to others.”

JP Whitta said it had been noted that Purotu’s behaviour had improved since the incident on September 6.

However, in considering the sentence he said: “There is no place for this.”

“Any sentence today has to pay attention to alcohol.”