Vaelei pleads guilty to eight charges

A convicted criminal, who is accused of a chain of crimes after he broke out of jail and was on the run before getting recaptured, is facing 16 theft and assault-related charges.  

In handcuffs, Aniseko Vaelei entered a guilty plea to eight of the 16 charges against him before the Supreme Court on Monday. 

He pleaded not guilty to the rest of the charges. 

Presided by Chief Justice, Patu Tiava’asue Falefatu Sapolu, an application from Vaelei for legal aid was also denied. 

The Chief Justice asked Vaelei if he still wants a lawyer to represent him that he would have to pay for, but he replied no. 

The eight charges that Vaelei pleaded guilty to are: escape from prison on January 20, aggravated burglary at Vailima on 1 February, armed with dangerous weapon namely machete at Vailima on 1 February, aggravated burglary at Moamoa on 4 February, theft of property with total value $1,256 at Moamoa on 4 February, burglary at a Falemauga family home on 11 February, theft of items value $51.50 at Falemauga on 11 February.     

He pleaded not guilty to armed with dangerous weapon namely machete at Moamoa on 4 February, burglary at Falemauga family home on 20 January, theft of $700 cash and property value $1,200 at Aleisa on 20 January.

In relation to an incident at the Vailoa One & One Mart on 21 February, Vaelei pleaded not guilty to one count of aggravated burglary, one count of aggravated robbery, willful trespass and two counts of causing actual bodily harm. 

The prisoner had his head covered with a ie lavalava and surrounded by other offenders when he made his way to the van to transport them back to Tafaigata prison yesterday. 

Vaelei, 20, escaped prison in January with another prisoner Pati Chong Nee who remains at large. 

He was captured following the alleged robbery at Vailoa where a sum of $10,000 was recovered by Police.  

The matter has been adjourned for hearing on 25 September, 2019 for a three days trial. 

He is remanded in custody.  

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