Father begs Court to free disobedient son

The father of an 18-year-old boy, who has been charged with possession of narcotics, has pleaded with the Supreme Court to set his son free so he can return to school. 

Joe Tomasi, 18, of Satapuala appeared before Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava’asue Falefatu Sapolu for criminal mention early in the week.  

During the proceedings, the father – who identified himself as Tomasi – raised his hand, and was granted the opportunity to speak. 

The father apologised for his son’s behaviour and asked for the Court’s mercy and pardon his son so he can return to school. 

“It is with utmost respect I seek your Honour's help in allowing my son to be released so he can continue to attend school at A’ana College,” said Tomasi. 

“I know my son has now appeared for the second time before your Honour and I beg you to forgive him and give him a chance to continue his school. 

"He hasn’t been to school for the past two weeks, and I know my son has been disobedient. And I humbly ask that you record his disobedience for the reason why he is in Court today, but please allow him to finish his school.” 

At that point the prosecutor, Lucy Sio Ofoia, informed the Court that the defendant was convicted last month. 

He was supposed to be under supervision, but he is now charged again for possession of narcotics. 

Chief Justice Patu then questioned the father if it is true, that his son was recently convicted for an offense, and has re-offended again. 

But the father was apologetic and continued to ask for the Court’s leniency and mercy for his son. 

His son, Tomasi, stood still and watched his father from the defendant’s stand. 

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In response, the Chief Justice reminded the father of his verdict in the previous matter, where Tomasi was convicted and that the Court’s decision should have been taken seriously. 

“Your son had recently been sentenced, and I had advised that you the parents have the obligation to ensure that your son remains of good character, and I strongly urged you to carry out that obligation,” said the Chief Justice. 

“The parents are the first teachers and if they neglect that obligation, their children will not turn out good. 

"The request from the father to allow the son to return to school, the Court finds that he is not doing that. He had stolen and broke into a home and now possession of marijuana.”

The Chief Justice told the father that his son will have to appear in Court next week for mention, and he can use a telephone from prison to contact a lawyer to represent him. 

Tomasi was found guilty of one charge of burglary and one charge of theft by the Court last month. He was convicted and sentenced to 12 months supervision and ordered to perform 100 hours community work.   

The offence occurred in November last year, where at 5:30am in Satapuala – whilst on his way to school – he entered a home of another male of Satapuala, assuming it was unattended. 

He saw the complainant sleeping in his bedroom and he took three cell phones, a Bluetooth speaker, and chargers all worth $844.00. 

According to a presentence report for the offence in November 2018, Tomasi is described by his father as a quiet and obedient young man, who is supportive of his parents.  The pastor of his church informed the probation service, that the accused used to attend church regularly and participated in church activities, but recently he has not done so. 

Tomasi’s father had also appeared in Court during his son’s sentence last month, where he told the Court he has apologised to the complainant and his mother, and his apology was accepted. 

According to the decision, Tomasi had apologised to the Court and said he will not offend again, and had expressed remorse to the probation service. 

The Chief Justice, in his decision last month, said, “I have decided to give the accused a second chance to redeem himself. 

“He is still a young man with his future ahead of him. But I must warn the accused not to offend again. If he does, he runs the real risk of going to prison. 

“He should also go back to attending church on Sundays, and participate in church activities, as he used to do before this offending. The accused’s parents have an obligation to ensure that their son remains of good character, and I strongly urge them to carry out that obligation.”

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