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Man who stole drugs from Police station "unbelievably foolish"

A drunken man who broke into the Police station, and stole marijuana the Police had netted from Samoa's biggest drug bust in history, has been jailed for a year.

Pauvi Limu, a single father of one from Malifa, claims he stole the marijuana to help him alleviate pain on his leg.

But Supreme Court Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren was not convinced. In jailing Limu, she described his actions as  "extremely bold" and "unbelievably foolish" for committing a crime at the Police station, of all places.

The 55-year-old pleaded guilty to three charges of possession of narcotics, theft and aggravated robbery. 

According to the summary of facts, on 10 November 2019, Limu was armed with a hammer he used to tear the screen wire circling the old Police training room which had housed the drugs.

He then put 46 marijuana plants from the police exhibits of the Faleatiu raid into a rice sack and walked out the front door with it. 

A Police officer saw him and subsequently apprehended him at Maluafou. 

The accused, who was drunk at the time of offending, stole marijuana with a street value of $46,000. 

Limu said he needed marijuana for health reasons, especially to deal with leg pain.

The Court heard that the defendant had previous convictions dating back to 1979, with the majority of those convictions being for theft and burglary. 

His last offencew was recorded in 2003.

Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala – Warren said the aggravating feature of the offending is the accused broke into a Police station which houses law enforcement in the country. 

“This is both extremely bold and unbelievably foolish,” she said.

“It is hard to believe that anyone in their right frame of mind would break into a police station. He took 46k worth of marijuana.

That marijuana was to be used as evidence in another case. Therefore this had the potential to have wide ranging consequences for another prosecution, if unrecovered.”

Justice Tafaoimalo said the only mitigating factor on the accused is the marijuana was recovered, his remorse and early guilty plea. 

Prosecutor and Attorney General lawyer, Veiuto Faasi'i, had sought four years imprisonment as a starting point. 

Having considered the aggravating factors, the Judge said a custodial sentence followed by a term of supervision is appropriate to ensure the accused undergoes rehabilitation programme and for deterrence. 

She then sentenced the accused 12 months imprisonment followed by 12 months supervision to attend rehabilitative programme for his alcohol consumption. 

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