A self-confessed missionary and his partner in crime have been jailed by the Supreme Court for selling vehicles that belonged to two car rental companies.
Justice Elizabeth Aitken delivered the sentence for Grant Newman Holland and Vaioleti Stowers on Wednesday, after they were found guilty of theft, bribery and obtaining by deception.
Stowers is already a prisoner at Tafaigata. She was given another five and half years. Holland on the other hand was sentenced to four months imprisonment and 12 months under probation, upon his release.
Both defendants were convicted of stealing six motor vehicles from two different rental companies.
Stowers pleaded guilty to all charges against her while Holland was found guilty after a trial.
Before sentencing, Holland’s lawyer, Alex Su’a, withdrew from the case.
Holland was then given the opportunity by Justice Aitken to address the Court.
“I prefer to hear the sentencing first before I say something,” said Holland.
But Justice Aitken refused.
“That will not happen because it is not the way the Court operates,” she responded.
Holland maintained his innocence. He demanded that the Court read out what he had written and asked the Judge to consider it carefully before her decision.
“That time has already passed,” said Justice Aitken.
Given a final opportunity to address the Court, Holland said: “Justice is done before our Creator.”
In passing sentence for Stowers, Justice Aitken, said she does not deserve to be out of prison.
“You are a unique person,” she said. “You are a career criminal, powerful manipulator, arrogant and no heart for other people. The public deserves protection from you but that depends on the prison staff.”
She added that Stowers should not be permitted to leave prison until her time is fully served at Tafa’igata.
As for Holland, Justice Aitken said he betrayed the trust of the companies he dealt with on behalf of Stowers.
“You knew what you were doing,” she said. “You used your age to gain the trust of the companies involved.
The Court heard that Ms. Stowers had written to say that Holland was innocent.
“Nothing that comes out of Stowers would I believe,” said Justice Aitken.
Finally, she said jail terms are necessary for both defendants to denounce such behavior and warn others who might be thinking of following suit.