Taxi driver to be stripped off license over theft

A taxi driver, who stole a television while he was waiting for his customer, will be stripped off his driver’s license for the safety of the public. 

Fu’a Toma Inau, of To'omatagi and Safa’atoa Lefaga, was sentenced on Wednesday for stealing a television valued $1,680 from a Lefaga family in July this year. 

The 34-year-old went inside the victim’s home and stole the 46-inch flat screen T.V. while the customer was in the bathroom. 

He pleaded guilty to one charge of burglary and one charge of theft. 

Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke sentenced Inau to four months and two weeks imprisonment and six months supervision when he is released. 

He also made an order for the Ministry of Police – Traffic Division to consider disqualifying the defendant’s driver’s license, making reference to the Road Traffic Ordinance 1960. 

Under section 29 subsection 4 of the Act provides that an application for a license or renewal of a license to drive a public service vehicle which includes a taxi shall be refused by licensing authority if by reason of the nature of any conviction of the applicant or other good causes.  

“Given that the defendant has prior convictions for violent offending including for which he was imprisoned in 2012, such convictions should disqualify him from being a holder of a license permitting him to drive a taxi on the grounds of character,” said Justice Leiataualesa. 

“A robust process should be implemented and applied by licensing authority in terms of the grant of licenses to drive buses and taxis for the protection of the public. 

“Convictions for serious violent offending should raise red flags as to the suitability of any such person to drive buses and taxis and whether they are fit and proper persons to hold such licenses.”

Furthermore, the Supreme Court Justice pointed out that given Inau has committed the offence in the course of his role as a taxi driver, the Land Transport Authority should also be aware of it. 

He instructed that a sentencing decision be delivered to the L.T.A. Chief Executive Officer so that they can consider his comments and review the public service vehicle license. 

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