The tables have been turned on a police officer who claimed to have been the victim of a drunken attack: the officer has now been charged with assault.
Young father Aue Inangaro Vakatini had been accused of assaulting the officer outside Raro Fried Chicken; he was arrested, spent the weekend of Father’s Day in a cell and when he was released the next day he had a badly broken jaw.
But now, the police officer has offered to pay Vakatini’s medical bills for getting his jaw wired up – and Crown Law is reviewing the assault charge originally laid against Vakatini.
The men’s lawyers are in talks: they could both agree to the withdrawal of charges against both men.
The talks were disclosed to Justice of the Peace Bernice Manarangi in the High Court.
Vakatini had been accused of threatening and assaulting an officer and smashing the side of a police car in September last year, when police approached him as he was talking to his wife and young daughter.
Vakatini said police punched him in the jaw – and subsequently, mobile phone footage emerged confirming his account.
Defence counsel Mark Short said he had a meeting with the police prosecutor and they wanted the matter to be adjourned as some issues needed to be tidied up.
He was advised the complaints against his client could be withdrawn and the accused officer could pay compensation for his client’s medical costs.
He added that he wanted to get a letter of their agreement with the police officer.
The suspended officer’s defence counsel Norman George confirmed discussions were underway, and he believed a settlement would soon be reached.
George said there had been a fair exchange of assault and abuse between the officer and Vakatini.
Neither acted appropriately, he said; both were emotionally affected.
George said his client had not hesitated to apologise to Vakatini.
Police had earlier said the police officer involved in the assault case had been suspended and was taking leave.
Yesterday, police confirmed the case was being reviewed by Crown Law, and the lawyers were in talks. The matter has been adjourned to April 9.