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Thursday 2 March 2023 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Court, Crime, National


Woman facing assault charge weeps in court
Cook Islands Ministry of Justice. Photo: Supplied/ 21051809

A woman was crying and visibly shaken as she appeared in court on a charge of common assault.

Puretu A Tangiau Tamakeu Jesccique Enoka stood in the dock and wept on Wednesday while Justice of the Peace Tangi Taoro spoke before discharging her without a conviction.  

Defence lawyer Mark Short said his client was very sorry, and that the matter should not have come to court.

Enoka had been friends with the complainant for a long time and the complainant had taken her passport and other belongings, and left for Australia.

JP Taoro asked Enoka if she wanted to say anything.

Enoka apologised.

The court then heard Enoka entered a guilty plea on February 16 while a brief summary showed she assaulted a person on January 28.

It was noted Enoka had previously appeared before the courts.

A mother of three, with children aged one, three and five, one of her children was living in Tahiti and the other in Auckland.

As Enoka wept, JP Taoro continued, saying the defendant was on a three month break from her partner in New Zealand.

She had undertaken seasonal work in New Zealand, and at 26, had been given the responsibility of assisting other Cook Islanders into seasonal work there.

It was her ambition to eventually build a house in Aitutaki.

A medical report noted the victim had sustained minor injuries and there was evidence of blunt trauma.

“You were both drunk and the victim said some harsh words,” JP Taoro said.

The court heard the victim had told Enoka she was a bad mother, and while the complainant had taken her passport and some belongings, Enoka was not able to contact the victim.

There were letters of support and an apology.

It was noted alcohol contributed to the situation becoming escalated.

JP Taoro said the main contributors were the harsh words said against Enoka.

“You are of a young age and elected as a team leader to escort Cook Islanders to New Zealand.

“A huge responsibility for a 26-year-old.

“Given the circumstances, you are discharged without a conviction.

“In the future, stay off the alcohol.”

Enoka was ordered to pay reparation of $20 and $50 court costs.