Ngatamariki Katuke, 50, from Atiu appeared in court on Thursday charged initially with wounding with intent after punching his nephew twice at a family home, after a dispute where the accused said the young man would not listen to him.
Defence counsel Norman George said that Katuke was remorseful and that it was a difficult situation as there are no government facilities to look after mentally handicapped persons in the outer islands.
“Everyone knows looking after a handicapped person is difficult, there is a dependency on the family who are forced take on this kind of responsibility without the essential skills,” he said.
He added that Orometua Frank Williams residing on Atiu had elected to help by tutoring Katuke on looking after his nephew.
Crown prosecutor Cheryl King changed the charge to a lesser one of common assault after it was determined that the injuries weren’t serious enough to warrant wounding with intent. She said that the principles of deterrence and accountability must be reflected in sentencing and that the court should signal to the community that assault of any nature is not condoned.
Katuke was sentenced to 12 months’ probation with the first six months community service to be served on his home island of Atiu.