Judge shows mercy to mother

By Pai Mulitalo Ale ,

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A 27-year-old single mother, Eunice Vaafusuaga, has been given a non-custodial penalty after she was convicted for theft as a servant. 

The ruling was delivered by Justice Lesatele Rapi Va’ai in the Supreme Court on Monday. 

Justice Lesatele said the prosecution recommended a custodial penalty of 12 months. The woman took $4,800 of $14,000 she was entrusted with. 

But he gave her a chance. He noted that the accused had accepted the charges when her employer found out and reported the incident to the Police. She also pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity to avoid wasting the Court’s time.

In Court, the young mother apologised. She said she approached the company to ask if she could pay the money back but she was told to wait for the lawyer to contact her. 

“You were a responsible person,” Justice Lesatele said. “The manager left a large amount of money to you and within a very short time while the manager was away, you stole $4,800.” Justice Lesatele said theft as a servant has become very common in Samoa. 

According to the pre-sentence report, the Probation Office confirmed that they contacted the company in question and their response was that they would rather she go to jail.

In the end, the woman was convicted and was asked to do 30 hours community service.

She was also told to pay $500 fine for prosecution.

The accused was in tears after the Court let her go with a non-custodial penalty.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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