Hotel worker who stole escapes jail

A man who stole building materials from the Sheraton Hotel and Bungalows in Mulifanua has been sentenced to 200 hours’ community service.

The defendant, Ronald Ritesh, appeared before Supreme Court Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala Warren on Tuesday.

The prosecutor, Avei Faasii, asked the court for nine months’ prison for Ritesh, a native of Fiji, who worked as the maintenance engineer at the resort in Mulifanua.

He was charged with three counts of theft as a servant for stealing more than $1,700 worth of building materials from the resort on three different occasions in 2019.

His defence counsel, Sarona Ponifasio, asked the court for a non-custodial sentence for her client and told the court he had paid the Sheraton back for the items he stole.

She told the defendant that he was charged with three counts of theft as a servant - a serious offence. Each count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.

The offending occurred on three different occasions over a six-month period, Justice Tafaoimalo noted.

Ritesh “was in a position of trust,” she said and the repeated behaviour showed that the crimes were premeditated.

She noted that the defendant has taken responsibility for his actions by paying the Sheraton for the items he stole.

Justice Tafaoimalo said it was a must for the court to hand down “a deterrent.” The Judge told Ritesh, who is married to a native of Samoa, that he will serve 200 hours of community service assisting children at the Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G.). 

Ritesh was convicted of three counts of theft as a servant.

His sentence to work with the children at S.V.S.G. will allow the defendant “to give back to the community,” by assisting children under S.V.S.G.’s care, said Justice Tafaoimalo



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