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Letter: Call for urgent review of Cook Islands’ criminal law system

Tuesday 21 November 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion


Letter: Call for urgent  review of Cook Islands’ criminal law system

Dear Editor, Re: Our failed criminal law system:

  1. People of the Cook Islands, we have serious criminal law and law enforcement problems.
  2. Only those directly working with the system know how really bad it is.
  3. For example, a disgruntled Solicitor General amended section 16 of the Judicature Act 1980-81, 32 years ago, to prevent the right to elect trial by Judge and Jury under part X (10) of the Crimes Act 1969 – these offences include theft, robbery, burglary, false pretences, fraud, receiving, forgery, wilful damage.
  4. The unconsititutional system operated until this change was discovered by an alert lawyer recently in 2023.
  5. Bail laws allowing the Police 48 hours to keep arrested people in custody have been abused and converted by the Police Service as a punishment or “softening up” process to force a confession.
  6. In New Zealand fighting is a peace and good order offence. Once the fight is stopped with everything cleared, despite some offenders running away, it is all over, the arrested are taken in custody and it is over.
  7. In the Cook Islands, the Police continues with investigation to catch those they did not arrest.
  8. All their time is wasted hence no traffic control etc.
  9. I am thinking of applying the Harrassment Act 2017 against the Police for waking households up where offenders on bail live, to do a “check” (never done in NZ) and following up on fight escapers, the serious injury cases is an exception.
  10. Taking arrested persons to Arorangi Prison instead of using the Police station have degrading and demeaning consequences and should be stopped and reduced to 24 hours, not 48 hours.
  11. Arresting traffic offenders, EBA, or those for fighting, disorderly behaviour a week later or longer must be stopped.
  12. Police honesty, ethical standards and intergrity is on a free fall and gets worse every year.
  13. I have caught Police abuse of the worst kind, embellishing false evidence to prove charges, misleading the court and adopting improper practices to charge people in Court.
  14. Please bring on an Independent Police Conduct Authority headed by a retired Judge or experienced retired Lawyer as a matter of urgency.
  15. I volunteer to give evidence before a Select Committee up to a week or longer in the future whenever needed to point out the problems and solutions.
  16. Commissioner of Police, you will need to review your own conduct and performance.
  17. I started my career as a Police Officer and remain proud and honoured to have served in the Cook Islands and New Zealand Police. Spare a moment and think about our honest, hard working Police Officers, men and women who work day and night and give them all our support and blessing.


Norman George

Senior Barrister & Solicitor


graham roper on 22/11/2023

Mr George, are you familiar with the recent assault case that ended with more questions than answers? Read CI news story on TMO and its links to an assault

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