19 May 2011

NZ judge to hear bail applications for people facing drugs charges in Cook Islands

8:35 am on 19 May 2011

A New Zealand High Court judge will hear next week the bail application of those arrested in the Cook Islands biggest ever drug bust.

Seven people remanded in the Rarotonga prison on drugs and corruption charges will appear before Justice Hugh Williams.

All were taken into custody on May 5 and 6 following their arrest.

Their charges are too serious for bail applications to be considered by a Justice of the Peace, and the Cook Islands has no judges of its own.

Cook Islands news reports Justice Hugh Williams will preside over civil and criminal cases in Rarotonga for two weeks from May 23.

He will also hear bail applications for those in custody under the country's largest ever drugs bust on May 25.

In total 13 people have been charged with more than 55 offences under Operation Eagle, which is the largest police operation of any kind in the Cook Islands.