Rob Kidd is a NZME. News Service court reporter based in Auckland.

Maori King's son convicted

Korotangi Paki, son of he Maori King Tuheitia. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Korotangi Paki, son of he Maori King Tuheitia. Photo / Brett Phibbs

The son of the Maori King now has a conviction against his name after the Crown was successful in its High Court appeal.

Korotangi Te Hokinga Mai Douglas Paki, 19, was originally discharged without conviction on charges of burglary, theft and drink driving at Auckland District Court, but Justice Mark Woolford overturned that ruling in a ruling released this afternoon.

The discharge on the dishonesty offending remained but Paki was convicted for drink driving.

However, he will face no further penalty other than the eight-month driving disqualification previously imposed.

In its appeal, the Crown prosecutor Mathew Downs highlighted four errors of law made by Judge Cunningham, which were accepted by Paki's lawyer Paul Wicks, QC.

Mr Downs said the District Court judge did not place sufficient weight on the fact Paki's dishonesty offending came after the drink driving - when he was caught more than five times over the youth limit.

He also submitted affidavits were misread and the "totality" of the offending was not properly explored.

The District Court heard how if Paki received a conviction there would be no chance of him becoming king but that argument was not pursued at appeal.

"At this stage it is highly unlikely Mr Paki will be appointed King. Whether there is an established tikanga or not, I am satisfied that a discharge will not materially affect whether Mr Paki is viewed as 'whiter than the dove'," Justice Woolford said.

"Mr Paki's chances of succession may improve in the future after an appropriate period of atonement. However, I am not satisfied from the affidavit evidence that a conviction for drink driving will prevent him from forever succeeding if he is otherwise considered a suitable candidate for the role."

The decision would ultimately be in the hands of the Chiefs of the Tribes, who would take all factors into account.

In his judgement, Justice Woolford said the public backlash against the teen had been punishment in itself.

"Mr Paki has atoned for his crimes. He has borne the scrutiny of much public attention and has suffered the displeasure of his father, whanau, and community. He has brought his family into disrepute."

- NZME.

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