Serial burglar jailed for 18 months

The Supreme Court has sentenced a serial burglar to 18 months imprisonment after finding him guilty on four charges of burglary and four charges of theft.

The two episodes of burglary and theft each were committed in November 2018, the court was told, while two further instances of the same crimes were each perpetrated in October last year.

Sentencing on the charges was handed down by Leiataua Darryl Clarke this week.

According to a Police summary of facts, the defendant and his brother went out to a nightclub in town. After spending the night clubbing in the early hours of that morning the two men went to the Leififi College compound.

A hole was made in the wall of the rooms that were connected to the Leififi College canteen. This led to various items getting stolen from the canteen valued at $470.

The second burglary and theft occurred at Malifa where items were stolen from a house. And the third burglary occurred on 11 November 2018 at around 6am, when the defendant and his co-defendant entered the victim’s home unlawfully.

“You then stole properties set out in the summary of facts to a total value of $2,153. One of the items that you had stolen which was the refrigerator,” the defendant was told by the Judge in his sentencing remarks.

“However, could not be removed off the property. You then abandoned it at the front of the complainant’s property.

“After that offending, you were charged and brought before the Court in December 2018. You then failed to appear and warrants of arrest were issued for your arrest including in June of last year. 

“Despite having been charged and being brought before the Court and then failing to appear, you then committed the second set of offending.”

The court heard that on 20 February this year at Vaivase-tai in the early hours of the morning, as highlighted in the summary of facts, the defendant and his co-defendant went to this complainant’s home while it was securely locked and stole goods worth $2,068.50

“That is the third set of burglary and theft. The next day on the 30th October sometime during the day, you and your co-defendant then went to another home while it was securely locked,” emphasised 

"Together with your co-defendant, you then also entered that home without lawful authority and stole a water cooler valued at $400. The total value of goods stolen by you from all burglaries was $5,091.50.”

According to Leiataualesa, the accused appeared before the court in 2018 and were given an opportunity to attend the Alcohol, Drugs and Court programme.

But instead of attending the programme, the accused failed to appear before the court and committed further burglaries and thefts last year.

“This shows your disregard for the law and the Courts and that appearing before the Courts has been no deterrent for you to commit this type of offending,” the court was told. 

“It is disappointing when men such as yourself come before the courts and despite your appearances before the courts, you commit further burglaries and thefts.

“This is now such a prevalent offence amongst young men that it has become a scourge in the community. Burglaries particularly in and around Apia are now so common that as I told your co-defendant Siatua when I sentenced him, people now have to actively guard against burglaries – both for their homes and their businesses.

“This is at a cost to those families and their businesses who have to guard against people like you who have no respect for people and indeed, the law and the courts.”

The defendant was sentenced to one year and six months.

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