25 Apr 2016

Cooks lawyer files complaint over handling of PM's accident

7:56 am on 25 April 2016

A Cook Islands lawyer has filed a complaint with the Solicitor General about the police's handling of a motorcycle crash that involved the prime minister, Henry Puna.

Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna

Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna Photo: RNZI / Koro Vaka'uta

In October 2014, Mr Puna collided with a motorcyclist when he failed to give way at a Rarotonga intersection. The other motorcyclist was hospitalised.

The Cook Islands News reports that in his complaint, lawyer Norman George said Mr Puna was not breath-tested until several hours after the incident, and alleges that he was given special treatment by the police.

Mr George, a former politican, said Mr Puna was given a 'pre-charge warning' by the police because it was a low-level incident, something Mr George said he had never encountered before in his 25-year career.

Mr George said Mr Puna would have lost his seat if he was convicted of careless driving.

He asked the Solicitor General to review the file, saying the case should have been sent to Crown Law for an independent opinon.