Court Officer gets 12-month suspended sentence

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu 21 September 2018, 12:00AM

The District Court has given a Court Officer a 12-month suspended sentence after he pleaded guilty to the possession of utensils under the Narcotics Act.

The Court heard that in April this year the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration building Manager discovered that he had lost his personal cheque book and found out that the defendant had been using it to purchase goods. 

District Court Judge, Fepulea’i Roma Ameperosa, told the defendant of his admission to Court on his use of ice or methamphetamine and that he had a good level of education. 

“When further asked how you used the cheque book and funds in his account, you (Su’a) admitted having used it on ice or methamphetamine. 

“You also told him how two of your fellow Court officers were involved. Later that afternoon, you handed him an item wrapped in an A4 sheet of paper, that item was a glass pipe,” he said. 

The Judge noted that the defendant had a good level of education with a Bachelor degree attained, while being employed by M.J.C.A. as a court officer. 

“You (Su’a) are currently on suspension from work as a result of your offending and depending on the sentence this Court imposes. There is a real likelihood that your current employment will be terminated.” 

The Judge noted the application by defense counsel to seek the Court’s approval to exercise its discretion under the law for a discharge without conviction.

“Section 70 (sentencing act) however states that the court must not discharge without conviction unless it is satisfied that the consequences of a conviction to the defendant would be out of all proportion to the gravity of the offence.” 

Judge Fepulea’i concluded that discharging a defendant without conviction obviously requires the Court to consider the facts and circumstances particular to each case.

“In my view, to grant a discharge without conviction in the circumstances of your offending would be sending out a wrong message. 

"On the charge of possession of a utensil for the purpose of committing an offence, you are convicted and ordered to come up for sentence within 12 months if called upon,” ordered Judge Fepulea’i. 

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu 21 September 2018, 12:00AM

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