Man jailed for stealing wine and threat to kill

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia – Ah Tong 21 February 2019, 12:00AM

A man has been sentenced to nine months imprisonment for stealing four bottles of wine value $550 tala and threatening to kill the victim. 

The accused, Matulio Mateo of Vaoala and Lauli’i was sentenced by Chief Justice, His Honourable Patu Tiava’asue Falefatu Sapolu 17 January 2019. 

Mateo was charged with one count of burglary, one charge of theft, one charge of threat to kill, one charge of using insulting words and one charged of being armed with a dangerous weapon. 

He pleaded guilty to all the charges.   

According to summary of facts on the 19 November 2018 the accused went to the house where the victim, who is a foreigner, was staying at Tiapapata as tenant, and stole four bottles of wine of a total value of $550. 

When the victim returned home in the afternoon, she noticed that her bottles of wine were missing. She then heard the accused making noise outside the fence of her home. When she walked to the accused who was holding a bush knife, he threatened to kill her and said insulting words. 

The victim then rushed back to her house and contacted her landlord for help. When the landlord arrived with two of his workers, they approached the accused who was walking away. 

Later when the landlord’s workers called out to the accused to return, the accused uttered insulting words and continued walking. The police were contacted and when they arrived they apprehended the accused and took him to the police station for questioning.

Mateo is 26-years-old and works on his family’s plantation at Vaoala. 

A family testimonial could not be obtained by the probation service, as the accused was not able to provide the contact details of any family member. 

The accused has previous convictions for burglary and theft from December 2015, for which he was convicted and sentenced to 12-months supervision and 100 hours of community service. 

He was also ordered to attend the Toemanatu rehabilitation programme and the alcohol and drugs programmes, with the condition that he must stay away from Vaoala and Vailima during the duration of his sentence. 

The accused complied with his sentence. When the new offence was committed, the accused had moved back to Vaoala where he works on his family’s plantation.

In his ruling, Justice Patu said it is unfortunate that foreigners working or doing business in Samoa are often the victims of burglary and theft offenses. 

“This calls for a deterrent sentence. Having regard to the aggravating features of the offending, I will take a starting point for sentence of 9 months. I will add on 3 months for previous convictions. That increases the starting point to 12 months. Three months are deducted for the early guilty plea. That leaves 9 months.”  

 The accused is convicted and sentenced to 9-months imprisonment on each of the burglary and theft charges.

He is also convicted and sentenced to 6-months imprisonment on the charge of threat to kill, one month imprisonment on the charge of using insulting words, and 4 months imprisonment on the charge of being armed with a dangerous weapon.

Any time the accused has already spent in custody is to be deducted from that sentence.

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia – Ah Tong 21 February 2019, 12:00AM
Samoa Observer

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