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Accused on bail after month in custody

Tuesday January 29, 2019 Written by Published in Crime

Okotai Rongo, who had been in police custody for a month, appeared at the Cook Islands High Court last Thursday.

 

Rongo has been charged with one count of burglary, one count of assault on a female and one count of excess breath alcohol (EBA).

He appeared before Justice of Peace John Whitta.

Defence counsel Wilkie Rasmussen, who handled Rongo’s previous court matters, said these were new charges and submitted a bail application for his client.

Rasmussen said: “He was remanded in custody because he had a previous reoffending record, has been in custody for more than two weeks. We won’t enter any plea; I need to spend some time to find out from him about the matter. I apply for bail, no plea to be entered and seek an adjournment to February 28.”

However, the police prosecution did not accept the application made by Rasmussen and said that Rongo was always brought before the court for EBA matters.

The court heard Rongo had assaulted a female and committed a burglary at the same time in Titikaveka.

The court further heard that this was not Rongo’s first appearance on burglary matters. Police prosecution argued that Rongo was a danger to himself and to the public.

Rasmussen argued that if his client was to be remanded again they would not know how long he would be in custody until the matter was resolved and had gone through its normal process.

JP Whitta said Rongo has been in custody for 31 days and EBA charges were not custody matters.

He said Rongo would be dealt with seriously if he reoffends.

He approved defence counsel’s bail application with the conditions of curfew from 7pm – 7am, not to interfere with the victim, and surrender his licence.

The matter has been adjourned to February 28.

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