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Dream destination wedding turns into horrific nightmare

Friday 18 February 2022 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Local, National


Dream destination wedding turns into horrific nightmare

All hopes of a Kiwi tourist couple being married on Rarotonga were dashed after a session of heavy drinking led to assault.

What was meant to be a dream destination wedding turned into a nightmare when the would-be-groom attacked the bride-to-be.

It resulted in Jan Robert Taipari, 41, being arrested and charged with assaulting a female.

Taipari appeared in the Criminal Court at Avarua on Thursday where he entered a guilty plea.

The court heard the bride to be then flew home, cancelling the defendant’s return flight and credit cards, leaving him stranded on Rarotonga.

The victim suffered bruising and lacerations during the attack at a Titikaveka resort on Saturday, February 12.

“They were both intoxicated, they had an altercation, his partner took off to New Zealand and cancelled his flight home,” defence lawyer Mark Short told the court.

The defendant spent 48 hours in custody following his arrest.

“I put him up in a hostel,” Short said.

“He needs money to cover the cost of the hostel and returning home.

“I’m hoping he can go back to New Zealand this weekend.”

The summary of facts say police were called to the Sea Change Villas about 11am on February 12.

Taipari had been drinking Southern Comfort with the victim in their villa late afternoon the previous day before catching a pub crawl bus, Going Troppo, at about 7pm the previous day.

At about the third bar the defendant started to act differently and was refused entry into Rehab Nightclub due to intoxication.

After the clubs, the defendant and the victim were dropped off back to their accommodation where an argument escalated.

The victim told the defendant that she wanted to leave and started packing, then went to have a shower.

Taipari allegedly stopped the victim from coming out of the shower and pushed her to the floor, then while she was on the floor, after quickly putting some clothes on, he grabbed her hair and shorts, and threw her across the floor in the dining area, causing the front of her shorts to tear.

He then allegedly pushed the victim with both his hands on her chest causing her to fall backwards on to the ranch slider (double glass sliding doors).

The victim then managed to escape him with minor injuries and ran out of the villa towards the reception area of Sea Change Villas where she hid from the defendant.

The victim then went back to the villa where she was able to grab her backpack with her passport and personal effects, then went to her rental car to try and sleep.

Taipari allegedly followed her to the car, grabbed her backpack, and took it back inside.

The victim hid from him and managed to get her backpack, and ran to the neighbouring villas where she slept, as she was afraid he would hurt her.

The defendant when questioned by police, denied the facts as outlined in the summary of facts.

Short offered to read the court letters of support for Taipari but Justice of the Peace Georgina Keenan-Williams went straight to sentencing.

“I think in the circumstances, six- months suspension, I wish you well as you make your way back home,” JP Keenan-Williams told Taipari.

Taipari was then given a six-month suspended sentence and ordered to pay $50 court costs and $20 towards medical costs.