Maori King's son back before court

By Rob Kidd

Korotangi Paki leaving Auckland District Court in May. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Korotangi Paki leaving Auckland District Court in May. Photo / Brett Phibbs

The son of the Maori King will be back before the court next week.

Last month, Korotangi Paki, 19, was let off charges of burglary, theft and drink driving by Judge Philippa Cunningham after his defence counsel successfully argued a conviction would ruin his chances of succeeding to the throne.

A couple of weeks later Crown Law confirmed it would appeal against the decision to the High Court.

The hearing on August 29 is likely to be brief, as lawyers look to set a suitable date for the appeal to be heard.

Paki's attendance at the hearing is not compulsory and his partner is due to give birth just days later.

Police originally opposed his discharge without conviction because they said it would send the wrong message to society, but that was not enough to persuade the judge.

Judge Cunningham said in the Auckland District Court on July 3 that while his drink-driving was moderately serious, the direct and indirect consequences of a conviction were "out of all proportion" to the offence.

However, she was concerned alcohol had been a factor in both incidents and made the ruling conditional on receiving a report from a medical professional clearing Paki of any alcohol addiction or alcohol abuse issues.

He was also disqualified from holding a driver's licence for eight months.

Paki's friends - Te Ahorangi Totorewa, 20, Hamuera Wipoha Pugh, 19, and Raa Ngaru Smith, 18 - were all discharged without conviction in Gisborne District Court over the March burglary and theft incident.

The four had stolen surfboards from a Top Ten Holiday Park and clothes from a man's car after a drinking session in March.

Defence for Paki, Paul Wicks QC, said the consequences of a conviction would outweigh the seriousness of the crime, because it would render him ineligible for the role of king.

Next story: The bad boy who would be king

- APNZ

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