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Lawyer questions ‘illogical’ arrest

Thursday 18 August 2022 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Crime, National

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Lawyer questions ‘illogical’ arrest
Norman George. Photo: CI News/13022123

A defence lawyer is aghast that a client of his was taken to the cells a week after being processed for driving with excess blood alcohol.

Norman George, in a letter to Cook Islands News, said his client, a young female school teacher, was given a blood test (excess blood alcohol) after falling off her motorbike while under the influence of alcohol, over a week ago. 

“No one else was injured and no other property damaged. She consented to a blood test. One week later the blood test result came back, my client was over the limit,” George said.   

“She expected to receive her summons to attend court. The Police demanded that she attend the Police station to be interviewed. I advised her, her rights that she did not have to go or answer any questions. The Police were enraged and took exception to this despite being advised it was her lawyer that gave the advice.”

George said police went to her home and arrested her. 

“I spoke to the arresting officer that the matter was not an arrestable case as it was seven days old. The robotic answer was that my sergeant said I must arrest.  I told her a defendant’s summons would be fairer,” George said.

He said he was disappointed by the lack of flexibility.  

“I rang the duty sergeant, at the station.  The reaction was worse. ‘My supervisor (the duty Senior Sergeant) said to bring the girl in and lock her up’. I then appealed to her to arrest her then bail her immediately after. Her reply was that she would have done that, but because I had created all the fuss, she would use her discretion to have my client placed in custody and placed in the Arorangi Prison. Believe it or not, she did.”

George said the duty sergeant’s reaction “was to place my client in custody as a punishment for calling her lawyer and her lawyer’s legal advice being treated as interference”.  

In response, Cook Islands Police spokesman Trevor Pitt confirmed he had spoken with George about the matter.

“I passed his concerns on to the Police Leadership but as yet can only confirm the issue had been lodged until consideration has been given to respond, should it be necessary.  Police do take these driving offenses seriously and the public should be aware of the risks and consequences involved,” Pitt said.

Read letter here: https://www.cookislandsnews.com/internal/opinion/letters-our-failing-police-service/