Acting Chief Justice dresses down repeat offender

A veteran criminal, Apisai Iosefa, attracted the ire of the Acting Chief Justice, Her Honour Mata Keli Tuatagaloa, who dismissed the possibility of granting him bail after reviewing his criminal history since 2013. 

The 22-year-old accused, who is of Vaiala and Leufisa, appeared in court on Friday on charges of sentencing on burglary and theft in relation to an incident alleged to have occurred last year. 

“You should remain behind bars over the number of charges against you, including a case pending in the Supreme Court and the District Court,” said the Acting Chief Justice. 

Acting Justice Mata asked Apisai why he was determined to waste chances given to him by the judiciary. 

She pointed to his failure to follow court orders by not appearing in the Drugs and Alcohol Court as ordered. 

“There are two sets of [separate] offending from 2019 and 2020,” said the Acting Chief Justice. 

She queried one of Apisai’s criminal offences in 2019 noting that he was released in October 2020 only to then be arrested the following month. 

The Acting Chief Justice was unimpressed with Apisai's rap sheet, which dates from 2013, despite his young age. 

“It appears [from this] there is no sense of remorse on your part. Also there are reference letters from your family, namely your sister – which I will not accept- saying you are a good person,” she said. 

“However it is the total opposite of what you’re doing. 

"There was also a time when your family refused to take you back because they are tired of facing the Village Council [due to your actions].”

The Acting Chief Justice asked about the defendant’s parents to which he responded that they are alive and well. 

“Don’t you love your parents?,” she asked the accused.

“So when you come into court, you say that you love your parents and when you are given another chance, you do the same thing.”

Justice Mata ordered the matter be postponed to a later date, given there are charges from 2019 that should be dealt with before the matter presently before the court is resolved. 

“You will remain in custody and there is no reason why [bail should be entertained] the court will surely sentence you to jail,” she said.

“The only issue before the court is to consider how long will you be sentenced to jail,.”

According to the Ministry of Police's previous conviction form, the defendant was convicted in 2013 and sentenced to 17 months imprisonment for using threatening and insulting words. 

Two years later, he was convicted for throwing stones, causing injury, intentional damage and ordered to serve 24 months in jail.

In 2016 the defendant escaped from jail and was sentenced to eight weeks imprisonment. The same year he was convicted for assault. 

In 2018 the defendant was convicted for throwing objects and drunkenness and was sentenced to 30 days imprisonment. 

In 2019 he was convicted for burglary and theft and was sentenced to nine months in jail, with community service. 

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