Man jailed for possessing drugs

A man has been sentenced to six months imprisonment for being in possession of 1.2 grams of methamphetamine (meth) and drug paraphernalia.

The custodial sentence on Tupai Fialelei, 45, of Faatoia and Aopo was handed down recently by Justice Leiataualesa Darryl Clarke in the Supreme Court. 

The defendant was given a four months custodial sentence for being in possession of an illegal substance and two months for having in his possession drug paraphernalia. The sentencing is to be served concurrently.

The summary of facts presented in court stated that the police executed a search warrant on the defendant and discovered a plastic bag containing meth in his pocket. Three pipes that are commonly used to smoke the drug were also found by the police. 

The prosecution submitted that the aggravating factors are the effects of the drugs on the communication, the quantity of the meth in his possession, his consumption of the drug and his attempts to hide illegal substance. 

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But Justice Leiataualesa, in response to the submission, said he was not satisfied that his possession of the drug was for commercial purposes or distribution into the community. 

The defendant’s admission of being a consumer in itself was not an aggravating factor, the judge added, and concealment of the drug could not be considered aggravating as there was no facts set out in the summary of facts. 

 “I accept that you are a consumer but that in itself in my respectful view is also not aggravating. There was also no fact set out in the summary of facts that shows that you attempted to conceal the methamphetamine or the glass pipes. I therefore do not accept concealment as relevant or aggravating,” he said.

Justice Leiataualesa said the defendant’s smoking of the drug in the presence of his four-year-old was also a cause for concern.

“By doing so, you have exposed your son to these substances and you risk ultimately leading him down that same path of drugs in later years. You must reflect on the possible consequences of your actions on your son and for his future.

“You claim in your P.S.R. (pre-sentence report) that you started using ‘ice’ for strength and to stay awake on your job as a taxi driver. The possession and use of this narcotic is not the answer to staying awake or a source of strength and nor is it a solution to problems. 

“It is a road to more problems both as a result of what the drug does to you physically and psychologically and because of the consequences for you personally if you are found in possession of it,” he added. 

The defendant, upon release, will be placed under the supervision of the Probation Service for six months, on the condition that he does not have any contact with Aitken Keil or Richard Burgess and attends programmes as directed by the Probation Service.

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