Convicted for theft

By Lanuola Tupufia – Ah Tong 23 October 2016, 12:00AM

A businessman who conspired with employees of a hardware store to steal materials has been convicted and fined by the Supreme Court.

Tupuola Patrick Boon, the owner of South Pacific Cladding Limited, was found guilty of two charges of theft in relation to building materials from Bluebird Lumber and Hardware.

Justice Lesatele Rapi Vaai ordered him to pay $2,000 for the two charges of theft as well as $1,000 for prosecution costs.  

Tupuola who was represented in Court by lawyer, Leota Raymond Schuster, had denied the charges.

The Court heard that the charges arose from a plan hatched by the defendant and former employees of the Store to steal building materials.

Justice Lesatele said a driver and truck was provided by Tupuola to remove the materials and deliver them to his house. 

“The payments for materials was arranged by the defendant with one of the employees who was given cash which he then distributed among the employees who assisted in the theft,” Justice Lesatele said.

“For the first load of building materials, the defendant gave $3,000 to an employee. The value of the materials is estimated at about $7,000." 

“The second load is estimated at $3,000 but the defendant gave $1,500 to the employees as their share for distribution.”

Justice Lesatele said the defendant benefited the most from the stolen materials.

As for the employees of Bluebird Lumber, they have admitted their involvement and are serving time in prison.

The prosecution had sought for an imprisonment sentence of two years for the defendant.

But his lawyer Leota argued for a non-custodial penalty, saying his client has already paid compensation worth $9,662 for the stolen materials.

Justice Lesatele considered this in favour of Tupuola. But he noted the defendant’s lack of remorse about the crime.

“He remained adamant of his innocence in relation to the charges when he was interviewed by the probation service,” said Justice Lesatele. 

“The insistence from the defendant despite the uncontested, credible evidence (before the Court) is a demonstration of the lack of remorse on his part. This was clearly a premeditated offence and offence of dishonesty.”

Justice Lesatele also pointed out that the former employees of Bluebird Lumber were in the position of trust and their offending was considered far more serious.   

“This is a distinguishing aggravating feature which must have weighed heavily in the mind of Justice Nelson when he imposed the sentences on the employees,” he said.  

“An important feature is that neither of the employees of Bluebird Lumber was able to pay compensation for the materials stolen. The defendant on the other hand, has paid compensation of $9662.”

By Lanuola Tupufia – Ah Tong 23 October 2016, 12:00AM

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