Busy day in court for list day

Judge Philip Crayton was the presiding judge at the list day at Whanganui District Court on Tuesday.

Among the defendants to appear before Judge Crayton was George Hitai Waaka, who is facing four counts of rape, two of indecent assault and one of unlawful sexual connection.

The purpose of Waaka's appearance was for the judge to order a psychological report on whether Waaka was fit to plead to the charges.

Towards the end of the brief hearing Waaka's older brother, Clifford Waaka, who was sitting in the public gallery, approached a member of the forensic mental health team and spoke to her. She told Judge Crayton that Waaka had very limited English and asked whether a Maori translator could be provided for him.

The judge asked Clifford Waaka if he would be willing to act as interpreter, and he said he would as he is a registered translator. Judge Crayton spoke directly to Waaka in the dock, explaining the purpose of the psychological report, while Clifford Waaka translated for him.

Waaka is due to re-appear in court on December 6.

Marshall Kahukura Taiaroa Brown received a sentence of 80 hours community work and 12 months' supervision after he pleaded guilty to charges of assault, possession of an offensive weapon and wilful damage. Brown assaulted his twin brother after discovering his partner was cheating on him with his brother, and smashed his vehicle with an axe.

Judge Crayton noted that the victim did not wish for reparation to be paid.

Dominic Alexander Bridgman appeared in court for a sentencing indication on a drink-driving charge.

Bridgman was stopped at a police checkpoint on SH45 near Hawera on September 27, with a breath alcohol reading of 1247mcg - more than four times the legal limit of 250mcg.

Judge Crayton told Bridgman as he had a history of drink-driving, and as his reading had been so high, he was at risk of being sent to prison.

"However, that will be for the court on the day to decide," he said.

Bridgman was remanded on bail for sentencing on January 11, 2017.

Judge Crayton sentenced Nicole Louise Smith to 80 hours of community and ordered her to pay $100 reparation to a police officer who she spat at.

Police were called to an address in Gonville for a domestic incident on November 1, during which Smith and her partner were fighting.

Smith's lawyer, Stephen Ross, said Smith was "known to many services in Whanganui".

He said her relationship with her partner was volatile, and noted that Smith had three previous convictions for assault.

"However, usually she is the victim," he said.

Mr Ross said Smith's behaviour had escalated because of the incident with her partner. She had written a letter of apology to the police officer whom she had spat at, and had spoken of taking out a protection order against her partner.

In sentencing Smith, Judge Crayton said her attack on the police officer was "not physical, but particularly foul and unpleasant".

"He was just trying to do his duty and trying to help you," he said.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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