Northern Ireland

Ex-Clogher Valley rugby coach admits domestic assault

Dungannon courthouse
Image caption Hemi Taukiri will be sentenced next month despite having tickets booked to return to New Zealand

The former head coach of a County Tyrone rugby team has admitted assaulting his partner.

Hemi Taukiri, 45, of Main Street, Fivemiletown, was the head coach of Clogher Valley RFC up until the end of last season.

He accepted the charge at Dungannon Magistrates Court.

The court was told he attacked and punched his partner after an end-of-season party.

The defendant wanted to have it dealt with straight away as he was scheduled to return to New Zealand, his native country, imminently.

However, the judge called a halt halfway through proceedings due to the seriousness of the incident.

The judge had initially agreed to hear the details but ruled that pre-sentence reports will be required.

The court heard police received a report from the victim on 7 April, who said that the accused had assaulted her.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The accused was the head coach of Clogher Valley RFC until the end of last season

It emerged that the couple had an argument after returning to their home after the party.

The court was told Taukiri shouted at the victim and pulled her by her clothing into the house before punching her in the face.

He then threw a number of her belongings at her.

Stopping the case, Judge John Meehan said: "I am not dealing with this today. This requires reports."

He was also critical of the ability for the case to be prosecuted and brought to court within two days, to facilitate Taukiri, when "others in domestic violence situations have to wait months to have perpetrators made amenable".

The judge described the speed of the case handled as "an exceptional expedition".

A prosecution lawyer said this had had been possible on the basis Taukiri accepted his guilt.

A defence lawyer urged the judge to proceed in order to allow Taukiri to travel home, as he had already booked tickets.

But, this was refused and sentencing will take place next month.

Taukiri, who has coached in New Zealand, Ireland, Canada and Spain for almost 20 years, was appointed at Clogher Valley Rugby Club for the 2017/18 season, which has just concluded.

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