22 Oct 2002

Cook Islands man enters no plea on murder charge

6:07 pm on 22 October 2002

A Cook Islands man appeared in the high court in Rarotonga today, charged with the murder of 31 year old Tuakana Tereau Teama a month ago.

Taimou Taverio entered no plea to the charge.

He is alleged to have entered the home of Ms Teama while she was asleep and bludgeoned her to death with a rock.

The minister for justice, Norman George, says Taverio will be held in custody until the trial, in part because he's been threatened by relatives and friends of the murdered woman.

And, Mr George says the government is moving quickly to pursue tougher sentencing for violent crimes in the wake of the killing.

"My Crown Law Office is currently studying the New Zealand Sentencing Act of 2002, and I assure you that we will be legislating similar laws in a matter of weeks."

Norman George says there's been three incidents of home invasions in the past two months and young criminals need to understand that that's unacceptable.