Man who robbed taxi driver using knife jailed

A 21-year-old man, who robbed a taxi driver at knife-point, was sentenced to two years and four months jail this week. 

Perusa Samuelu, of Lauli’i and Magiagi, was given the sentence by Supreme Court Justice, Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren.

The defendant pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery, being armed with a dangerous weapon, threat to kill and threatening words. 

According to the Police Summary of facts, the incident occurred on 16 August, 2019 the defendant and co-defendant put a machete to the knife of a 35-year-old taxi driver. 

The driver managed to flee and Samuelu and the co-defendant Tile (who has not been charged yet) took the taxi for a joy ride. 

During sentencing, Justice Tafaoimalo stated the defendant used a machete making this violent and dangerous offending;

“Secondly, the two of you ganged up upon on a lone taxi driver; he was vulnerable; he was all alone and it was late at night. You also threatened to stab him and you took the taxi for a joy ride afterwards and left it far away in Sataoa.,” the Judge said, 

The Court heard that the taxi does not belong to the victim. 

The victim “lost income for 13 months according to his victim impact; the taxi driver said he was terrified, he ran for his life because he was fearful for his life.” 

Justice Tafaoimalo noted the defendant’s actions were planned. 

“The taxi driver also says that there was money in the car one hundred and seventy tala ($170.00) when you took the car; you said the victim owes you money for an air conditioning unit but your violent reaction to that is disproportionate and unlawful,” the sentencing remarks continued. 

As a mitigating factor, the defendant holds a Diploma in Fine Arts and is a very talented person shown through the running of a small family business, the Court was told. 

“And your uncle had spoken in your favour saying that you’ve changed your ways and regularly attend family prayers,” he said.  

“I see you expressed to remorse to probation and you also entered a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity meaning you have taken responsibility for your offending 

“Unfortunately for you this is very serious offending, deterrence and protection of taxi drivers are significant considerations today. Taxi drivers serve the public by way of transportation often late at night and repaying this service with violence is unacceptable.” 

Justice Tafaoimalo said given the aggravating features of the offending, the starting point for considering the accused’s sentencing is five years; 12 months was deducted given his age and your personal circumstances and a further six months for his remorse expressed through probation. 

“And [for] your character through your uncle’s reference and finally I deduct fourteen 14 months for your early guilty plea; you are convicted of aggravated robbery, being armed with a dangerous weapon, threat to kill and threatening words and sentenced to two years and four months imprisonment,” ruled Justice Tafaoimalo. 


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