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Bail altered to allow accused time for work

Tuesday 9 August 2022 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Court, National

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Bail altered to allow accused time for work
Photo: Supplied

A man who went on the run from the police for a week is now allowed to work while on bail, but he is not allowed to participate in rugby matches.

Oswell Tunupopo is charged with intent to injure a female. He is yet to enter a plea.

Last week, he was granted bail on the grounds that he stayed at the Cook Islands Gospel Society’s Mission House in Nikao under a 24/7 curfew, with exceptions being on Tuesday and Thursday, where he could be taken to the gym for one hour in the company of the pastor.

At Monday’s bail hearing at the Criminal Court in Avarua, his defence counsel Michelle Tangimama submitted to Justice of the Peace Tangi Taoro that he should have his curfew relaxed.

Tangimama, who appeared on behalf of Tunupopo in Court, suggested that Tunupopo could attend the Celebration Church on Wednesday from 6pm to 8pm, and on Sunday from 10am to 12pm.

She also asked for Tunupopo be allowed an exemption to work during the week as a gardener in Tupapa on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

“This work is so he can earn money to pay for his legal fees,” Tangimama submitted.

Tangimama also asked for Tunupopo to be allowed to participate in the Tri Nations Cup rugby this month.

Crown prosecutor Jamie Crawford said Tunupopo had to date not shown enough evidence that he was of good enough behaviour to be allowed an alteration to his bail conditions.

“If you excuse the pun, it’s too early to be shifting the goalposts here,” Crawford said.

“He needs to show consistent adherence to his curfew.”

Tunupopo handed himself over to police on July 9 after close to a week of evading the authorities.

In reviewing the application to alter bail, JP Taoro allowed Tunupopo to attend church on Wednesday, and also to work from 9am to 4pm on Wednesday.

The working conditions included not leaving the worksite during those hours on Wednesday, and being under the strict monitoring of his employer.

The 24/7 curfew otherwise remains imposed, JP Taoro said, while Tunupopo was not allowed to have any contact with the complainant.