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Former Clogher coach gets suspended sentence

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Former Clogher  coach gets suspended sentence thumbnailHemi Taukiri

THE former head coach of Clogher Valley Rugby Club has been given a suspended sentence and ordered to pay compensation, to a woman he assaulted during a "degrading, humiliating attack" of a domestic violence nature.

Hemi Taukiri (45) of Main Street, Fivemiletown had been out with the victim celebrating the end of the rugby season on 7 April. His contract had expired and he was due to return to his native New Zealand after a successful season coaching the team.

However, whilst the celebrations were underway an argument broke out between Taukiri and other team members, after which he and his then partner left. On arriving at his home, where the victim was to spend the night, a further argument developed after Taukiri accused her of failing to take his side in the earlier incident. He shouted into her face then took hold of her by the neck and dragged her into the house where she was punched to the head.

Taukiri then ran upstairs gathered property belong to the victim, which he then flung at her as she lay on the floor. She managed to phone police and Taukiri was arrested.

He was described at Dungannon Magistrate's Court as "very sorrowful and remorseful "and stated the incident should never have happened.

Although he said his recall of events was poor due to the amount of alcohol consumed he did not dispute the facts.

At a previous court sitting the charge was admitted and a defence barrister requested sentencing go ahead straight away as Taukiri was scheduled to catch a flight that night.

However District Judge John Meehan refused, ruling pre-sentence reports were critical under the circumstances. On return the defence repeated his client's apologies and pointed out there is no previous record for any offence. He submitted the case could be treated as out of character for Taukiri, adding there had been immediate admissions from the outset.

Judge Meehan said, "The idea of a woman, humiliated, degraded and attacked in such a cruel fashion is highly disturbing."

He added whilst three months custody was the only appropriate sentence, but because of Taukiri's acceptance of the charge and full co-operation, this could be suspended for two years.

In addition, compensation of 500 is to be paid to the victim. Prior to his season at Clogher Valley Rugby Club, Taukiri coached in New Zealand, Ireland, Canada and Spain for around 20 years.

His career as a promising professional player in his native New Zealand was ended with a serious knee injury, after which he moved into a successful career in coaching.

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