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Police wait on Crown Law’s opinion

Wednesday May 15, 2019 Written by Published in Crime
Police have completed the investigation into a crash involving two officers using a marked police vehicle in March. The vehicle veered off the road and hit a support post of the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation building. 19051440 Police have completed the investigation into a crash involving two officers using a marked police vehicle in March. The vehicle veered off the road and hit a support post of the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation building. 19051440

Cook Islands Police Service has handed the files of two of their leading investigations this year to the Crown Law Office for its opinion on the findings.

 

The investigation included a crash incident involving two police officers in March and an inquiry, which began in January, into the Rakahanga campaign in last year’s general election.

Police spokesperson Trevor Pitt said they have completed both investigations and were waiting for an opinion on the appropriate action to take from Crown Law.

Efforts to get an update from Crown Law when this edition went to print yesterday proved futile. CI News made several calls last week but was told the prosecutor looking into the files was busy attending to court matters.

Pitt said the vehicle involved in the crash was a write-off.

He said police have looked into the options of a replacement, adding “it appears this is progressing in consultation with the Ministry of Finance, Economic and Management (MFEM)”.

The accident took place at Maire Nui Drive in Avarua on March 14 after the marked police vehicle veered off the road and hit  a support post of the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation building.

The police officers, who were involved in the collision, were responding to a domestic-related incident, and Pitt earlier said that response was in accordance with existing policy. They did not sustain any injury in the crash.

The officers were stood down from duty while the investigation, overseen by Cook Islands Police Service Professional Standards, was undertaken into the cause of the accident.

Police commissioner Maara Tetava earlier confirmed that the matter will also be

reported to the ombudsman who may or may not run a separate investigation.

The Rakahanga investigation followed Court of Appeal decision on December 14 last year, which upheld an allegation of treating against Cook Islands Party candidate Toka Hagai.

The matter was referred to the police by the Registrar of the High Court for consideration, in accordance with the Electoral Act.

A team of six detectives conducted an investigation on the island in January. It is believed another team of police officers were on Rakahanga in April to conduct further investigation.

In January, commissioner Tetava said the team had been tasked to complete its groundwork on Rakahanga in a “swift and thorough” manner.

“The police have an important job to do as a result of having been referred the matter from the court. The work will be carried out in accordance with police procedures and treated as carefully and professionally as other investigations,” Tetava then said.

“The task is not motivated by any other reason than to gather and determine as much information for evidential purposes as can be achieved.”