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Drink driving case drags on

Saturday 11 February 2023 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Court, Crime, National

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Drink driving  case drags on
Cook Islands High Court. Photo: Sian Solomon/21110511

The case against a man facing reckless and drink driving charges is still before the courts 12 months after he was charged with the offences.

Tei John Harawira has been called multiple times to court following an incident on February 13 last year.

In the Criminal Court on Thursday, his lawyer Norman George filed an application for the matter to go before a High Court Judge and asked for it to be adjourned.

Harawira appeared before Justice of the Peace John Whitta on December 21 when George argued the evidence had so far failed to establish an offence.

According to police at around 12.13am on February 13, last year, Harawira crashed a pickup truck into a parked car on the main road by The Islander Hotel. Harawira’s blood alcohol limit was allegedly more than four times over the legal limit.

At the time JP Whitta said there was no dispute that the defendant was involved in a crash, but defence argued Harawira had not driven recklessly and the procedure taken to process his blood sample was unsuitable. 

George told JP Whitta because the medical practitioners could not remember taking the blood sample, it could not be accounted for and said there was no case to answer.

JP Whitta said he could not see how the fact “the practitioners could not remember who took the blood sample” did endanger the credibility of the sample itself.

George lodged an appeal of the decision on the grounds that it failed to take into account certain procedural matters, in particular the alleged assault on the defendant.

JP Whitta told George that the alleged assault was not part of the case, and was not even in the summary of facts.

On Thursday, Justice of the Peace Tangi Taoro adjourned the matter for a callover by a Judge on February 24.