Defence lawyer Norman George asks for bail a third time for his client accused of rape and other indecent behaviour to girls aged 10 and under.
In the High Court at
Avarua yesterday, lawyer Norman George appealed for a bail on behalf of his
client Moe Pirangi, after being denied twice by two different Cook
Islands Justice of the Peace’s.
In court, George told Chief Justice Sir Hugh Williams QC, who appeared
from New Zealand via Zoom, that it was “cruel and harsh” his client had not
been given bail.
“I wish to state my observation that there is a tendency by the Police
and the Crown to push the presumption of being guilty,” he said.
George said the Crown publicly announced Pirangi was a paedophile which was published in Cook
“We consider this prejudicial and unfair to the defendant.”
The court heard, Pirangi is self employed as a taxi driver and a grower. George
said Pirangi already lost an opportunity to harvest his tomatoes because he was
held in custody.
George said the Crown had a very thin case that he was going to “vigorously
Judge Williams said Pirangi’s occupation as a taxi driver made
granting bail difficult.
“There is considerable concern on behalf of the complainant and the
family at that prospect (taxi driving),” the Judge said.
“If he were not a taxi driver, your plea for bail would be made much
George said his client could employ people to operate his taxi business until
he faced trial.
Judge Williams yesterday adjourned the matter for 24 hours and asked the
Crown to research taxi rules in Rarotonga. The judge said he wanted to know if someone
was allowed to operate the accused’s taxi while he was on bail.
The defendant will reappear today and a decision on bail by the Judge is
In the Crown’s summary of facts, in
early September, prosecuting lawyer Annabel Maxwell-Scott said a 10-year-old
girl was raped by Pirangi on August 12 this year.
he felt like his client was treated rough by the JP’s and was very critical of
the JP court.