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‘I hope it is your last appearance for assault on a woman’: Domestic violence ‘not tolerated like it used to be’

Wednesday 7 December 2022 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Court, Crime, National


‘I hope it is your last appearance for assault on a woman’: Domestic violence ‘not tolerated like it used to be’
The Justice building in Avarua.

A Justice of the Peace has agreed with a defence lawyer in warning a man sentenced for assaulting his partner that he will go to jail if appears before the court again on domestic violence related charges.

Raeina Raeina appeared for sentencing at the courthouse in Avarua on Tuesday where he was warned by his defence lawyer Mark Short that he would go to jail if he appeared again on domestic violence related matters.

Justice of the Peace Tangi Taoro echoed Short’s words in sentencing Raeina.

“The courts are not taking these offences lightly; if you appear again you will find yourself in custody,” JP Taoro told him.

The court heard it was a very serious assault.

“She was hooked, punched and kicked numerous time,” JP Taoro said.

Short earlier filed submissions with the court and JP Taoro called a recess for 30 minutes as she needed time to consider them.

Police and probation had recommended a term of probation which was supported by Short.

“A lot of this come from insecurities, I’ve told him he can’t do this as an adult,” Short told the court.

Short described his client as a hard worker who had been in a relationship with the victim for about 15 years.

He had played a significant role in helping raise the victim’s three children.

“He is taking responsibility for bringing up kids who are not biologically his,” Short said.

“I told him if he returns to court for a similar offence he will go to jail; domestic violence is not tolerated like it used to be.”

Before sentencing Raeina, JP Taoro told the court the maximum sentence for assaulting a female was two year’s jail.

The court heard that in June, Raeina attacked his partner from behind, punching and kicking her as she fell to the floor.

The victim sustained multiple injuries – swelling to her face, lips and forehead.

As police arrived, Raeina refused to make a statement.

He did apologise and express remorse, the court was told.

The court heard Raeina had support from his employer who didn’t want him to go to jail.

His brother was shocked to hear of the assault, and described Raeina as helpful.

Raeina had said he loved his partner and had asked for one last chance.

“You were drunk, jealous and angry,” JP Taoro told him.

“The victim told police she was hit numerous times.”

The court heard it was his first court appearance for such matters, his second court appearance, after one previous traffic conviction.

The injuries were backed up by a medical report while the victim impact statement supported the medical report.

The court heard Raeina and the victim were back together in a relationship and had talked about undertaking counselling.

The aggravating factor was the seriousness of the assault while the mitigating factor was the early guilty plea which accounted for a 33 per cent discount on the sentence.

Raeina was sentenced to 12 months’ probation, the first six months to be carried out as community service.

He was ordered not to consume alcohol, not to entered a licenced premises, pay $20 towards the medical examination, and $50 court costs, and told not to leave the Cook Islands without the permission of the court.      

Concerns raised by Short and echoed by JP Taoro come only days after Justice Colin Doherty expressed his concerns when sentencing Bwebwenteiti Tekatau for a similar matter in the High Court.

Tekatau appeared in court on Thursday charged with five counts of assaulting a female, two of assaulting a child, and one of threatening to do grievous bodily harm.

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.

Justice Doherty, in sentencing, said the behaviour was of concern, and unacceptable, and raised a point that Cook Islands had only recently celebrated White Ribbon Day, a global movement of men and boys working to end male violence against women and girls.

A movement which has spread to more than 60 countries and is the world’s largest male-led movement to end men’s violence against women.

Reported incidents of domestic violence in the Cook Islands spiked in 2021 with October holding the highest monthly figure recorded in the past five years.

Police received 40 complaints in October 2021 - all classified under statistical criteria as domestic violence.

Police reported ongoing concerns about domestic violence only one month into 2022 when they were quoted as saying there was little evidence of any improvement on the horizon.


Te Tuhi Kelly on 08/12/2022

No chances, he beat the beejeebers out of her and he gets a chance, really?