Belfast Telegraph

Rugby coach attacked partner after end-of-season night out

By Staff Reporter

The outgoing head coach of the Clogher Valley Rugby Team has appeared in court after assaulting his partner last weekend.

Hemi Taukiri (45), of Main Street in Fivemiletown, accepted the charge and wanted to have it dealt with straight away, as he is scheduled to return to his native New Zealand imminently.

However, whilst District Judge John Meehan initially agreed to hear the details, he called a halt halfway through and ruled that pre-sentence reports would be required due to the seriousness of the incident.

Dungannon Magistrates Court heard that police received a report from the victim on April 7, who said Taukiri had assaulted her.

It emerged the couple had been attending an end-of-season rugby party and on returning to their home, an argument ensued.

Taukiri shouted at the victim and pulled her by her clothing into the house before punching her to the face.

He then hurled a number of her belongings at her, the court heard.

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

"This requires reports."

He was also critical of the case being prosecuted and brought to court within two days, to facilitate Taukiri.

The judge continued, pointing out that "others in domestic violence situations have to wait months to have perpetrators made amenable".

An outspoken critic of domestic violence, Judge Meehan described the speed with which the case was handled as "an exceptional expedition".

In response, a lawyer for the prosecution advised this had been possible on the basis that Taukiri accepted his guilt.

Meanwhile, a defence barrister urged the judge to proceed with the case in order to allow Taukiri to travel home as his tickets are already booked.

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

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

Belfast Telegraph

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