Maori King's son to reappear in court in November

By Rob Kidd

The Crown will appeal the discharge without conviction Korotangi Paki received last month. Photo / Brett Phibbs
The Crown will appeal the discharge without conviction Korotangi Paki received last month. Photo / Brett Phibbs

A Crown bid to overturn a discharge without conviction for the son of the Maori King will be heard in November.

The case came before the High Court at Auckland this morning when the appeal date was set.

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

Paki's attendance was excused today.

King Tuheitia was recently hospitalised with diabetes-related issues and Tainui heavyweight Tukoroirangi Morgan yesterday confirmed he would fulfil the King's official engagements while he recovered.

In a speech delivered by the King last week he hit back at those who believed the court had been soft on his son.

In a translation of his speech he said a false picture was painted by "sensational and factually wrong media reports".

Police originally opposed Paki's 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.

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

- APNZ

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