Jail sentence, freedom on same day over police assault

Jackie Maikuku. Photo NZ Herald
Jackie Maikuku. Photo NZ Herald
A man who admitted to assaulting a lone Kawhia police officer has been sentenced to nine months in prison.

But having already served his time Jackie Maikuku will be released from jail later today, a court has heard.

Maikuku, 21, of Kawhia this morning pleaded guilty to assault with intent to obstruct a police officer executing his duty.

The charge relates to an incident in Kawhia on January 11 last year involving local constable Perry Griffin who tried to arrest Maikuku.

A charge of assault with intent to injure police was withdrawn.

An agreed summary of facts read out in court revealed Mr Griffin was off-duty and fishing with his son at the Kawhia wharf when he saw an intoxicated and disorderly Maikuku also at the wharf with a friend.

Mr Griffin went home and changed into his uniform before returning to arrest Maikuku on an outstanding warrant when the matter unfolded.

In sentencing Maikuku Judge David Ruth said he had already served his nine months having been in custody since the incident.

He said he would be released from prison this afternoon.

"I sincerely hope you and your community can get on and put all of this behind you," said Judge Ruth.

Outside of court Maikuku's father, Jackie Maikuku snr said his family were awaiting the outcome of an investigation into the matter that will be presented to the Independent Police Conduct Authority.

He said his son was looking forward to returning to the community but said he would be staying away from Mr Griffin and would try to stay out of trouble.

Constable Griffin said he remains committed to policing the Kawhia region, and today's change of plea would allow himself and the Kawhia community to move forward.

"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,'' he said in a statement.

"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 was with another area supervisor in the Hamilton District Court today to support Constable Griffin.

"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.

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