A 24-year-man has escaped conviction on a charge of common assault in light of his age and circumstances surrounding the incident.
Benny Benmarsters appeared before Justice of the Peace Tangi
Taoro in the Criminal Court on Tuesday for sentencing.
lawyer Mark Short said he had asked Benmarsters why he had assaulted the victim,
and was told the victim, not from the Cook Islands, had been a project manager
at the Edgewater Resort where they were both working.
was “abrasive and critical, it was just a matter of time before the guy got a
hiding,” Short said.
the defendant had gone to empty some rubbish and been shouted at by the victim.
the defendant just lost his cool.”
the victim no longer lives in the Cook Islands, and it was understood the victim
did not get along with any of the locals.
would have to carry a conviction for the rest of his life, and Short asked that
his client be discharged without a conviction.
be a stain on his record, it was not sustained punches, it was a slap.”
the behavior was not excusable, but the incident was “inevitable”.
“If it was
not him, it would have been one of the other workers.”
young people didn’t always realise the consequences of their actions.
He asked JP
Taoro to show leniency.
was described as a slap with an open hand by the defence, while prosecution had
noted it had been with a closed fist.
adjourned the matter to consider the submissions.
matter was recalled, the court heard police received a complaint on April 6,
2023 from the Edgewater Resort.
had been working on a construction project, and the defendant had been cleaning
the area up.
told the defendant he was putting the rubbish in the wrong place, and an
assault was then reported.
defendant said the victim had continuously sworn at him, and that he hit the
victim with an open palm.
lived with and supported his brother, and was described by his employer as a
apologised and it was his first appearance in court.
impact showed the victim had suffered a bruise to the lip.
been a recommendation for a suspended sentence or probation.
circumstances and his age, JP Taoro said a discharge without conviction was
was ordered to pay $50 court costs and $20 towards medical costs.