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In the Criminal Court at Avarua on Thursday, November 17

Monday 21 November 2022 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Court, Crime, National


In the Criminal Court at Avarua on Thursday, November 17
Cook Islands High Court. Photo: Sian Solomon/21110511

A prison warden facing multiple assault charges has entered guilty pleas.

Tepareariki Teokotai Patric Rongokea appeared on four common assault and one assault with intent injure charge.

The charges stemmed from an altercation at Arorangi Prison.

The Crown said there was an agreed summary of facts before defence lawyer Mark 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.

A probation report was ordered and the matter was adjourned to December 16.

Patrick Piri-Ariki Tuaineiti appeared in court to apply for a temporary licence. 

His lawyer Tai Nicholas told the court Tuaineiti had been disqualified from driving for 12 months in May, so was eligible to apply for a limited licence.

Nicholas said his client is employed with a construction company and his activity had been limited for the past six months, causing himself and his employer hardship.

He had been employed with the company for five years and wanted to be able to drive to work and use work vehicles.

Nicholas said he had spoken with the owner of the construction company.

Tuaineiti was also the breadwinner in his family.

JP Taoro granted the licence between 6am and 6pm, Monday to Saturday.

A Cook Islands woman living in Christchurch is facing a charge of careless driving causing injury.

Defence lawyer Mark Short appeared in the Criminal Court on behalf of Christine Kaiata John.

He said there was a lot of work going on behind the scenes in an attempt to get the matter resolved.

The incident happened several months ago and both parties were near the step where they would find closure.

Police had no objection and the matter was adjourned to December 8.

Amani John Tupeariki Ama made a first appearance on a charge of careless driving causing injury.

Defence lawyer Mark Short said he had received disclosure and asked for the matter to be adjourned to December 8.

JP Taoro adjourned the matter to December 8 and told Ama he is not allowed to leave the Cook Islands.

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

Defence lawyer Mark Short said he needed more time to discuss the case with his client.

He said he understood Tou had sent a letter of apology to police.

The matter was adjourned to December 8.

Okaytime Masters entered a not guilty plea to assaulting a female.    

The matter was adjourned to January 31 for a defended hearing.

Tuakanakore Maurangi represented himself on a drink driving charge and entered a guilty plea.

On October 8 he was stopped by police while driving a truck. He blew 450 micrograms per litre of breath.

He was disqualified from driving for 12 months, fined $167.50 for drink driving, and ordered to pay $50 court costs.