A convicted burglar and thief, Lua Leasuasu, has been sentenced to three years and seven months.
The sentencing was handed down by Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu.
The defendant, who is from Lotoso’a Saleimoa, stood in prose for the sentencing hearing while prosecuting was Fuifui Ioane of the Attorney General’s office.
Leasuasu appeared for sentence on one charge of burglary, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment, and one charge of theft, that is punishable up to seven years in jail.
This matter was first mentioned on Monday morning October 16, 2017 and then adjourned several times for the accused to engage counsel and then later applied for legal aid which was declined.
He then wanted to engage counsel, but to be paid for by him and the matter was then further adjourned to Monday 22, January, 2018 for the accused to engage counsel paid for by himself, however on that day, Leasuasu decided to plead guilty.
The Chief Justice pointed out the offending according to the prosecution summary of facts, on September 29, 2017 around 2:00am, Leasuasu went to the victim’s house, tore off the screen wire of a window, entered and stole several items of property and cash of $500.
“The total value of the stolen properties and the cash is $10,820.” According to the presentence report, the accused told the probation service that he had gone to the hospital on Friday for medical treatment when he met a friend who invited him to his house at Vaoala.
“At his friend’s house, the accused and his friend drank a bottle of Jim Beam around 8:00pm to 11:00pm.
“His friend then told him for them to go and get a bottle of alcohol from a neighbour’s house across the road.
“When they came to the neighbour’s house, they removed the screen wire of a window and the accused entered the house.
“He made a thorough search of the house, but could not find any bottle of alcohol.
“He then proceeded to the bedroom where the complainant and his wife were sleeping and stole the items of property and the money with which he is now being charged,” said the Chief Justice.
All the stolen properties were recovered by the police except the money.
Leasuasu, 42, has a very criminal record.
“He has been in and out of prison since 1990 and has numerous previous convictions for burglary and theft.
“I accept what the prosecution says that he is a recidivist burglar.”
As pointed out in the presentence report, the accused was eligible for parole in 2014 and 2015, but his applications for parole were declined by the parole board because he continued to reoffend.
“The accused pleaded guilty to the charges though belatedly.”
Chief Justice Patu stated the aggravating is that the total value of the items of property and the money stolen and this offending involved home invasion at a very late hour at night including the invasion of the bedroom where the complainant and his wife were sleeping.
“The accused’s very bad criminal record including numerous previous convictions for burglary and theft is an aggravating feature relating to the accused as offender.
“He is clearly a threat to the community which needs to be protected.”