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New charges laid in cannabis prosecution

Saturday 9 September 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Court, Crime, National


New charges laid in cannabis prosecution

A number of criminal matters were called before Chief Justice Patrick Keane via audio visual link at the Criminal High Court in Avarua on August 1.

Christopher Denny appeared in court on a new charge – supply of Class C Controlled Drug. He also faces charges of possession of cannabis leaves and possession of utensils.

Defence lawyer Mark Short said he needed to review the evidence from the disclosures.

CJ Keane said the Crown will be relying on text messages and it was being analysed by an expert from New Zealand.

The matter has been adjourned to October 27.

Denny was arrested and charged with possession of cannabis leaves on February 16 and appeared in the Criminal Court on February 17.

At the time, he was held in custody overnight and Justice of the Peace Georgina Keenan-Williams granted Denny bail with conditions that he surrender his passport and not leave the Cook Islands without permission of the High Court.

In January Denny decided to relaunch Cook Islands Security (CIS) to provide protection of the tourism industry from Monday, January 23.

He ceased the operation, established in 2018, in December last year after seeing a downturn in his business services to accommodation owners.

When Denny returned to Rarotonga around 2018, he established the security company, Cook Islands Security, as he had the intention to settle in Rarotonga.

He has been outspoken over the years, often raising concerns about criminal activity on the island.

Denny also promotes himself as trainer who helps locals through his training programmes and helps rebuild immune systems and reset bodies by building muscles.

In relaunching his security business last month, Denny said everyone would benefit from Police and Tourism investing in security to keep crime low and our animals under control.

In other matters:  Ngamau Wichman Tou’s matter was adjourned to October 27 for another call over.

Tou faces a charge of forgery and is represented by lawyer Norman George.

John Paul Wilson had his case adjourned to the March sitting. Wilson, who had denied the charges of refusing an alcohol breath test, careless driving causing injury and careless driving, elected a jury trial.

He was represented by lawyer Norman George who said the defendant and his wife would be testifying at trial.

Oceania Mataiti’s matter was adjourned to October 27.

He was represented by lawyer Norman George, who said he has not had a chance to get a full briefing on the case from his client.

The Aitutaki accused who now resides in Rarotonga is charged with possession of utensils, possession of cannabis and selling class C cannabis for the purpose of dealing.

The charge against Chad Thomas Hickes of careless driving causing injury was adjourned to October for a call over.

Lawyer Norman George said they were ready to continue with the matter for a jury trial.  

Crown Law was arranging New Zealand witnesses in relation to the case.

Sina Daniel’s matter was adjourned. Crown Law was still trying to get a hold of her and were to also confirm the charge of theft.

CJ Keane said the Crown suggested it be put off until December 15.

Rurutoa Maote did not appear in court. Crown Law Prosecutor Jamie Crawford said they had been providing the defendant all the documents through email and he was aware of the court date.

Maote is charged with assault on a female and two counts of assault with intent to injure.

CJ Keane said the matter would be adjourned to October 27- when Maote would be ordered to appear or a bench warrant would be issued.