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Lawyer Rasmussen pleads guilty

Tuesday 20 July 2021 | Written by Caleb Fotheringham | Published in Crime, National

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Lawyer Rasmussen pleads guilty

Former Cabinet minister Wilkie Rasmussen has entered a guilty plea to attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Rasmussen entered a guilty plea in the High Court at Avarua on Thursday last week.  

The guilty plea follows Rasmussen being found guilty of two acts of indecent assault in the Cook Islands High Court in Avarua on June 10.

The prominent Cook Islands lawyer was found guilty of forcing his tongue into a 22-year-old female’s mouth twice without her consent.

The incident happened after Rasmussen offered the victim money for sex. The court heard the amount was between $2000 and $5000.

Rasmussen was charged with an attempt to pervert the course of justice because he told a family member of the victim he would sue the complainant if they lost the trial.

Rasmussen appeared before Judge Peter Woodhouse, who appeared on video conference app Zoom.

Brian Mason acted as Rasmussen’s lawyer and Annabel Maxwell-Scott acted for prosecution.

Rasmussen earlier entered a not guilty plea to the indecent assault charges.

His trial ran for two days from June 9 and 10 this year.

Judge Woodhouse found Rasmussen guilty of the charges the same day as the trial finished.

The judge, in making his decision, said he found parts of the defence case unreliable, and said one defence witness was unconvincing.

Rasmussen will be sentenced on August 18 for both the indecent assault charges and perverting the course of justice.

Rasmussen’s will remain on bail until he’s sentenced.

-  Caleb Fotheringham