The woman had her jaw broken in two separate places and showed signs of concussion after she was allegedly assaulted by a group of up to four people, including a man said to be an off-duty police officer, outside Rehab nightclub on the evening of June 6.
The victim’s mother says her daughter was scheduled to return to New Zealand later that night, after enjoying a “beautiful holiday” here on Rarotonga. However, her holiday quickly took a turn for the worse, after an apparent disagreement ended in a serious assault occurring.
“She arrived back here with a black eye, broken jaw, and bruising all over her,” the mother told CINews.
Yesterday the Cook Islands Police Department (CIPD) released a statement claiming they had not received an official complaint regarding the alleged assault.
However, CINews has come to learn that the victim lodged a formal complaint with New Zealand police last Wednesday, launching an investigation into the assault claims.
CINews also understands an officer from the CIPD attended the incident after being alerted by a concerned witness and that the NZ Police have attempted to contact both the CIPD and Rehab Nightclub regarding the incident.
“Someone from the party bus she was on saw that she was injured and confused, so they got an officer,” said the victim’s mother.
“The officer attending said they could do nothing, as she (the victim) told them she couldn’t describe them (the offenders) at that time.”
Speaking exclusively to CINews, the victim’s mother said the family had tried to keep the matter from becoming public, “but nobody was being helpful at all”, which is why a post was shared on social media.
The post resulted in new information being shared about the alleged offenders, including the suggestion that one of them was an off-duty police officer.
“I rung the New Zealand police officer who took a statement from my daughter and told him that information has come up after the complaint was made,” said the mother.
“He said it is making more sense now why we had no reply from the bar or Cook Islands police.”
Yesterday, a CIPD police spokesperson told CINews that the NZ Police have not yet “formally” contacted the CIPD in relation to the incident.
However, this appears to be contradictory to the mother’s claims that the CIPD told NZ police “they knew nothing” about the incident and were adamant “there was no formal complaint made regarding a fight”.
According to the mother, the NZ Police are still going to pursue the complaint.
“I just want the people responsible to come forward,” she says.
Upon being questioned by CINews about the incident, a CIPD spokesperson admitted that “police were aware of a scuffle that was managed by security staff of Rehab on the night” and that the off-duty officer was present at the time of the incident.
However, the spokesperson failed to clarify why no complaint was made on the night, nor why the police had initially denied having any knowledge of the incident.
Referring to the complaint made with the NZ Police, the spokesperson said: “In such cases, NZ Police would defer to the Cook Islands’ jurisdiction for police to undertake the necessary work.”
“In terms of the investigation, inspector Tuaati expects to have completed the file by the end of the week.”
The victim’s mother also wanted to acknowledge “the many beautiful messages of support from the community of Rarotonga” that she and her family had received. “I thank them all for that,” she said.
“It’s kind of funny because she actually missed two flights in one day to get to Rarotonga and now I think perhaps she was not meant to go!”
In the meantime, the officer continues to work on full pay here on Rarotonga, despite being under investigation for a serious and violent offence.