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Sentencing for man who defended himself in Court adjourned

Thursday 27 April 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Local, National


Sentencing for man who defended himself in Court adjourned

Iorama Ngataua’s sentencing has been adjourned.

Ngataua, who defended himself in a court trial against multiple violence convictions, was advised that he needed to be represented by a lawyer on the day of his sentencing.

He appeared before Justice Christopher Toogood at the High Court in Avarua yesterday.

He was earlier convicted with two counts of wilful damage, a charge each of threatening act, assault on a female and two charges of contempt of court.

Justice Toogood said in the psychological report, Ngatau said he realised he made a mistake not having a lawyer to represent him during the trial.

He said Ngataua needed a lawyer for sentencing because Crown Law would be asking for a imprisonment period. He added it would not be right for the defendant to be sentenced without being advised or be legally represented.

Meanwhile, the charges relate to events on September 14, 2020, September 26, 2021, September 5, 2022 and December 17, 2022.

In the first incident, Ngataua became angry with the complainant after observing a wet patch on the back of her shorts. She explained to him that the wet patch was the result of the work she did; Ngataua was not satisfied, became irrational and began yelling.

He smashed the right rear window of the complainant’s vehicle. Seizing a nearby petrol canister, he began pouring petrol through the open driver’s window of the car and then turned his attention to another van which, by this time, had returned and was parked nearby. He poured petrol through the van and then moved over to the house.

Ngataua threw the petrol canister into the living area, where it struck a wall. More petrol spilled inside the house. Ngataua then began looking in the vehicle for a lighter or matches, saying he was going to burn the house down.

On the charge of assaulting a female, where Ngataua hit a girl and on the second wilful damage of a vehicle charge, on September 5, 2022, Ngataua damaged the vehicle by breaking the window.

On the first charge of contempt of court, Ngataua was ordered by the High Court not to contact or interfere with witnesses or complainants relating to the matters before the Court and he disobeyed this by verbally abusing her.

The second charge of contempt of court was on December 17, 2022, when a constable arrested Ngataua on another matter and at the time of the arrest his breath smelt like alcohol.

Justice Toogood has called for a probation report and for victim impact statements.

Justice Toogood adjourned the matter to three weeks from now of which the High Court registrar was to confirm the date. He added that the court staff were to assist the defendant with a legal aid lawyer. He was remanded in custody.