Father quits job in narcotic fight

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia ,

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STOP IT: Moe Taaseu said sometimes passengers pay him with joints instead of cash.

STOP IT: Moe Taaseu said sometimes passengers pay him with joints instead of cash.

A father of three who used to make a living driving a taxi has quit his job in his fight against the use of narcotics. 

Moe Ta’aseu, of Tanumapua appeared before the Alcohol and Drugs Court yesterday where he was given a chance to address the cause of his behaviour – in this case smoking marijuana.

He was charged for possession of narcotics. 

The father told the Court he wanted to change his ways and had quit his job because it has hugely affected him.

“I no longer drive the taxi,” said Mr. Ta’aseu. “I have returned the taxi to the owner, I want to stop. There are days where passengers don’t give me money instead they pay me with joints. 

“I need help to stop getting high.”

The father has previous convictions, which also involve marijuana.

Lawyer Barlow Schuster said in a conversation with the defendant he had mentioned that his occupation as a taxi driver has not helped his drug use.

She agrees that perhaps driving the taxi was affecting him.

“He does have a plantation and he acknowledges it might be more valuable to his wellbeing to revert back to the plantation,” said Ms. Schuster.

“He has an A.O.G. pastor he has been sharing with and he was indicating to the counsel that the pastor would be a good person to attend the family conference. His wife is very supportive of the programme that it would find a new place for him and invite changes to lifestyle.”

Presiding was Justice Mata Tuatagaloa. 

Justice Tuatagaloa accepted Mr. Ta’aseu into the Court where he will undergo two programmes to help him. He will be supervised by a community justice supervisor. 

She asked the defendant why he was convicted before where he faced six charges of driving an unlicensed vehicle, driving without a license and dangerous driving. 

The father told the Judge that he was high when the incident happened.

He said he normally smokes two joints a day and more than twenty in a week. 

 But Justice Tuatagaloa warned Mr. Ta’aseu that if he is thinking that coming in the Court would be his way of avoiding time in prison then he is wrong. 

She made it clear that the programme means he will be monitored and have unexpected visits from those that will be looking after his progress. 

 “It’s not easy to just give up smoking or alcohol completely and you must know that during the programme you are not allowed to touch alcohol or narcotics,” she said. 

“If you trip over the programme you will be sent back to the Supreme Court to be sentenced and sent to jail.”

Mr. Ta’aseu is on bail with conditions that he will report to probation, sign the agreement in joining the programme, cannot be seen in drinking sessions, and is banned from drinking alcohol or taking marijuana. 

He is also required to attend the family group conference. 

The Alcohol and Drugs Court was established in February this year to encourage conversations around alcohol and drugs and to help drug and alcohol abusers in Samoa to become more responsible for their actions.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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