Kawhia family will 'keep out of trouble'

BELINDA FEEK
Last updated 05:00 11/03/2014
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CHRIS HILLOCK / Fairfax NZ
FREED: Jackie Maikuku, 21, in the Hamilton District Court yesterday before being freed from prison on time served.
Jack Maikuku
RELIEVED: Jack Maikuku is looking forward to catching up with his son, Jackie, who has spent more than a year in custody.

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The father of a Kawhia man, who admitted assaulting a local policeman, says his son will "keep away" from the officer in the future.

Jackie Maikuku, 21, has spent more than a year in custody since a scuffle with Kawhia police Constable Perry Griffin on the town's wharf on January 11, last year.

However, just before a two-week trial was about to start in the Hamilton District Court yesterday, Maikuku pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated assault of Mr Griffin.

A second charge of assault with intent to injure was withdrawn by police.

Judge David Ruth sentenced Maikuku to nine months in prison but as he has spent more than a year in custody at Waikeria Prison, he was to be released last night on time served.

Speaking outside court after sentencing, Jackie's father, Jack Maikuku, said he was a bit shocked at his son being released so soon.

Mr Maikuku said he and his wife, Lisa, had their first opportunity to chat with their son during a break in between court proceedings yesterday as they discussed the Crown's deal to withdraw a charge in exchange for a guilty plea.

He said his family were initially annoyed at not being able to see their son "but soon got over that".

When questioned about the family's relationship with Mr Griffin and given his son is moving back to the town, Mr Maikuku said they would now "just forget all about it and move on".

"We'll just keep away from him, keep out of trouble," Mr Maikuku said.

He was looking forward to the Independent Police Complaints Authority investigation into his own complaint after a charge of assaulting police was withdrawn last year.

Meanwhile, the court heard that on the day of the assault Mr Griffin was off duty and down at the wharf fishing with his son about 5.30pm when he saw an intoxicated Jackie Maikuku nearby acting "in a disorderly manner".

Mr Griffin, aware of an outstanding warrant for Maikuku's arrest, went home and got changed into his uniform before returning to the wharf.

Mr Griffin told Maikuku he was under arrest for the warrant but Maikuku was not interested and stood there disputing the matter.

The assault occurred during the course of the arrest when Mr Griffin placed his hand on Maikuku's chest before Maikuku swung his arm out, knocking it away.

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In a statement released by police, Mr Griffin said he remained committed to policing the Kawhia region.

"The support shown not only to me but also to my family through what was a quite a difficult ordeal by firstly the Kawhia community, the wider police family and to a large number of people from around the country was quite humbling to experience and has helped our family cement our ties here.

"Having said that, in the spirit of moving forward we would like to close this chapter on our lives and request that our privacy be respected in relation to this matter."

Western Waikato area commander Inspector Paul Carpenter said he hoped the sentencing meant both the police and Kawhia community could now move on.

"From a police perspective this vindicates the whole of police support shown to our colleague and the quite considerable support shown not just by the Kawhia community but from people from around the country," Mr Carpenter said.

- Waikato Times

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