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Nightclub brawler fined $3k for injuring security guard

Tuesday 26 March 2024 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Court, Crime, National


Nightclub brawler fined $3k for injuring security guard

A man who was involved in a brawl at the Rehab Nightclub in November last year was ordered to pay a $2000 fine and $1000 in compensation to a security guard who was injured from the incident.

Poutapu Maretu appeared before Chief Justice Patrick Keane when he was convicted for wounding with intent to injure to cause grievous bodily harm, and assaulting a constable.

Maretu was also convicted for two counts of contempt of court by breaching bail conditions where he was found in a liquor licence premise and consumed alcohol on December 23, 2023.

He was one of 11 men who were charged in relation to the fight, in which two stabbings were reported, multiple people including Rehab staff received injuries, and Police backup was required to get the situation under control.

CJ Keane said on November 8, 2023 at 11.30pm a large fight broke out between two groups at the Avarua nightclub.

He said a security staff member saw another staff member being assaulted, he tried to break up the fight but received facial injury, where his nose was broken.

CJ Keane said Maretu acted aggressively when police arrived, he had picked a road cone and threw it at the officer.

He was arrested and released on bail but he breached his bail conditions on December 23, 2023.

CJ Keane said the victim impact report said the security guard’s sight was affected, where his eyes had to be assessed at an eye clinic. He was admitted at the hospital and spent two weeks at home.

He said Maretu, who came to Cook Islands on October 31 last year to attend a relative’s wedding, was remorseful. This was his first offence and his risk of reoffending was low, the court heard.

“The mass brawl was fuelled by alcohol,” CJ Keane said.

Crown Law prosecutor Lucinda Rishworth said imprisonment was warranted given the level of violence committed by the Australian-born Cook Islander.

However, Rishworth said given the circumstance, Maretu did have obligations to return to Australia, had been in custody and has been in Rarotonga since he was charged.

She gave him credit for his remorse and early guilty plea and asked that any fine must be paid before he leaves Cook Islands.

Defence counsel Lavi Rokoika, who attended the proceeding through audio visual link, agreed with the Crown Law’s submissions.

Rokoika said that her client has a pregnant girlfriend who was due next month, he has spent four months away from home without work and it has been hard for him.

CJ Keane said being fuelled by alcohol was not an excuse but the defendant was from Australia, his offending was out of character and he was ashamed.

Maretu was also ordered to pay $100 for the charge of assaulting an officer.