Man appears before Chief Justice for theft

A 30-year-old male has pleaded guilty to stealing personal effects valued at over $28,000.

Appearing in the Supreme Court on Monday before His Honor, Chief Justice Patu Tiava'asu'e Falefatu Sapolu, Taeao Luteru of Gataivai Savai’i and Pesega has been charged with burglary and theft.

In an application to the Court, the accused submitted that alcohol was involved when he committed the crime on July 28 this year.

Subsequently, counsel Leone Su’a-Mailo from the Office of the Attorney General asked the Court to withdraw the individual charges against the defendant. 

“Your honor, the defendant has pleaded guilty to the charges as specified in the charging document therefore we seek court’s leave to withdraw the other individual charges of theft,” she said.

But the Chief Justice, in response, asked the counsel to explain why she did not advise the Court earlier of the position of the defendant. 

“Why didn’t you tell me so we wouldn’t waste time reading out the other charges and that you were going to withdraw,” he said. 

Ms. Leone said they handed the charging documents to the registrar to read out.

“All the individual charges of theft against the defendant, we seek the Court’s indulgence to withdraw all of them, but we are proceeding with the charges as stipulated in the charging document.”

Chief Justice Patu granted the application, saying: “All the charges that you pleaded guilty to except for the last charges in that were read out from the charging document, the prosecution has requested to withdraw all of those individual charges and the court has granted the application.”

When the Chief Justice asked the defendant if alcohol was involved at the time of the offense, he replied in the affirmative and said alcohol was involved.

“The Court has noted down your guilty plea to the charges against you therefore you will be referred to the Drugs and Alcohol’s Court and then report back to the Supreme Court later,” said the Chief Justice. 

According to the Police summary of facts the victim is a male of Tanumapua by the name of Tanu Muliaina. 

On 28 July 2018 the defendant unlawfully entered the home of Mr. Muliaina without a valid reason and committed the crime of burglary.

The stolen goods included 2 firearms, flash light, vehicle light and radio, a lawn mower, petrol, chainsaw, drill hammer, karaoke speaker, compact disc player and spray paint.

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