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Drug defendant jailed after 71 marijuana plants seized

Darren Stanley has been sentenced to four years and three months in jail for cultivation of narcotics. 

The sentencing follows a drug raid of a home in Vaiusu where 71 marijuana plants were uncovered last year. 

In his recent judgement, presiding Supreme Court Justice, Lei'ataualesa Darryl Clarke, said the Police conducted its raid on 21st August 2018 on co-defendant Taitaifono Ulugia Sala Suivai's property. 

 “The height and sizes of the marijuana plants were not led in evidence, an oversight in the prosecution case meaning that those particulars in the charge were not proven," Justice Lei'ataulesa said.

Justice Lei'ataualesa said photographs attest to the fact the marijuana were not small and some of the plants well grown.

“I accepted the prosecution evidence that together with Taitaifono, you planted the marijuana, waited for it to grow and that together with Taitaifono, you grew the marijuana. 

"You attended on Taitaifono’s land regularly, three to four times per week as part of your cultivation of the marijuana."

Stanley is 23 years old, married and has three young children. 

Justice Lei'ataualesa noted the aggravating factors in relation to the accused’s offending is the significant amount of marijuana cultivated by the defendant and his co-defendant and that the offending necessarily involved a high degree of premeditation and planning.

“This matter proceeded to trial and you have prior convictions which mean that you are not eligible for any deductions for prior good character. 

“In your pre-sentence report, you also continue to dispute your role in the offending saying to the Probation Service that you have doubt as to the Court’s ruling. 

"You however express remorse for your offending, which is inconsistent with your continued dispute of the charge for which I have found you guilty.” 

Justice Lei'ataualesa said the starting point for sentence is four years and six months. I deduct 3 months for your personal circumstances from the start point. 

“Accordingly, you are convicted and sentenced to 4 years and 3 months imprisonment less time remanded in custody," he said.

“Darren, you have started on a road of offending that will take you to prison. 

“You are however a young man with a young family and from my observations in Court, you have a family that loves and supports you. You fortunate because many of the young men that come before the Court do not have that support.

“You therefore have promise for your future if you can change your life and I strongly urge you to change your life once your sentence is completed, if not for yourself, for your family and in particular your young children who need their father in their lives. 

“There is no future for you if you continue to involve yourself in drugs and other offending."

“Change is possible but it must start with you wanting to change your life Darren and I hope you do".

The defendant was represented by lawyer, Afa Lesa while lawyer, Fuifui Ioane, of the Attorney General's Office was the prosecutor.



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