Notorious thief thrown back in jail for new crimes

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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Tafaigata Prison

Tafaigata Prison

Notorious thief, Sio Afitu Masoe, has been jailed for three years and 10 months in connection to four separate burglaries, with the total value of items stolen at $14,822.74. 

The sentence was handed down by Chief Justice Patu Tiavaasu’e Falefatu Sapolu. 

The incidents occurred between 2016 and 2017. Initially, the defendant entered a not guilty plea to four charges of burglary and four charges of theft. 

However, he changed his guilty plea on the date of trial.

The Chief Justice, in his sentencing ruling, pointed out that there are four victims associated with this matter. 

On 9 November 2016, Masoe burglarised the home of a 36- year-old male at the Samoa College hostel. He entered by tearing up the screen wire and removing three louvres of a window at the back of the house. He stole a laptop valued at $1,800 and a cellphone valued at $300. 

“The total value of the stolen properties is $2,100.

“As the supplementary pre-sentence report shows, the accused told the probation service that he had been smoking marijuana not long before he committed this offending.” 

The second incident occurred in April last year at the home of a 52-year-old woman, also in Moto’otua. 

Masoe removed three louvres of a window at the front of the house while the victim and her family were away and entered the house. He stole several items, including a guitar valued at US$2,500 (T$6,349).

“As the supplementary pre-sentence report shows, the accused had told the probation service that this offending occurred at 11pm after he had been drinking three large bottles of beer next to the fence of the second victim’s house.

“The prosecution’s summary of facts show that on Sunday morning, 7 May 2017, you went to the house of the third victim, a 45-year-old female at Malifa whilst the victim and her family were away to attend church service, and removed two louvres of the shower and entered the third victim’s house. 

“You then stole several items. The total value is $1,615.90.

On the fourth incident, the prosecution’s summary of facts shows that on Thursday, 14 December, 2017 in the afternoon, you went to the house of the fourth victim, a single male at Vailoa, removed the louvres of a window at the fourth victim’s kitchen and entered the house. 

“You then stole several items. The total value of the stolen properties is $4,756.84.” 

According to Chief Justice Patu, the defendant, who is from Asau, Savaii, and Lalovaea, was convicted and sentenced in July 2016 on separate burglary and theft charges, where he was jailed for three months and was followed with six months supervision. 

“So when he reoffended on 9 November 2016, he was supposed to be under supervision. 

“The summary of facts accepted by the accused shows that he also has a previous conviction for willful trespass in 2017 when he was convicted and discharged. 

“The supplementary pre-sentence report also shows that the accused did not fully comply with the conditions of his supervision in 2016 and did not show remorse over his actions.

“There are several discrepancies between what the accused related to the probation service in 2016 and in 2018 about his personal circumstances as shown from his pre-sentence report dated 7 July 2016 and his supplementary pre-sentence report dated 9 March 2018. 

“As a result, it is difficult to be totally sure about his personal circumstances. 

“What appears to be certain is that he attended primary school at Asau but did not complete secondary school. He is also consistent about being employed by a rental company for about a year.

“There are no victim reports on the second and third victims, but only the first and fourth victims. 

“It appears from their impact reports that the first and fourth victims now feel unsafe in their own homes because of the burglaries and thefts committed by the accused. 

“The first victim was also worried because the laptop stolen by the accused belongs to the school where he is a teacher. The fourth victim used to bring his nieces and nephews to his house, but he no longer does so since this incident because he has locked up everything in his house.” 

The accused’s previous convictions for burglary and theft in 2016 and for willful trespass in 2017 are aggravating features relating to the accused as offender. 

The only mitigating feature relating to the accused as offender is his belated guilty plea when he changed his not guilty plea to one of guilty on the morning of the trial.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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