Court jails drug dealers
A pregnant woman and one of her co-defendants have been dubbed drug dealers at the center of a 2019 Police raid, where methamphetamine and marijuana were confiscated from Fa’atoia.
Ana Fuimaono, of Faleatiu and Vailuutai, who is 12 weeks pregnant and her co-defendant Stewart Tuitama were given jail terms by the Supreme Court on Tuesday afternoon.
Justice Vui Clarence Nelson drew the inference from evidence that the pair are drug dealers; Ana dealing in marijuana and Stewart in methamphetamine otherwise known as 'ice'.
According to the evidence of Pitoitua Aloese, who was a defendant and star witness in the case, Ana brought marijuana to exchange with meth from Stewart.
The drug dealers were sentenced together with two other co-defendants who were jointly charged in relation to the 2019 raid.
The defendants, with the exception of Pitoitua, all pleaded not guilty to the joint charges of possession of marijuana and methamphetamine and were subsequently found guilty after the trial.
AJ Roache whom the court described to have had a “drug and alcohol problem” took part in the ice and marijuana “smoking party” that took place at Pitoitua’s home in Fa’atoia.
He was convicted and sentenced to two years in jail for all the charges against him arising from the incident, including possession of two grams of ice.
Sanele Schuster whose “culpability was the least” from all the defendants escaped a custodial sentence.
He was convicted and fined $2,000 for his involvement in being a participant in the smoking party, specifically smoking marijuana.
Justice Nelson noted that from the trial evidence, the three defendants Ana, AJ and Stewart were the ones who smoked the methamphetamine.
The charges of possession of meth against Sanele were dismissed.
Sanele was represented by Faualo Harry Schuster, Treena Atoa acted for Stewart while Afamasaga Michael Soonalole is the lawyer for Ana.
According to evidence from Pitoitua during the trial, there was a gathering at his house at Fa’atoia on 26th December 2019.
He was at home with his wife Esther and the other defendants arrived at different times.
Pitolau testified that Ana arrived with a bag of marijuana.
He claimed that he offered AJ some meth who accepted it and they smoked it together in his bedroom.
The defendant also told the court that Stewart arrived half an hour later and was engaged in exchanging meth for marijuana with Ana.
While the gathering continued in the bedroom, it was Pitoitua’s evidence that Esther then left to cook some food.
“[She was 8 months pregnant] and there is no evidence she participated in the smoking party in the bedroom,” said Justice Nelson in his decision last month.
The court heard that Esther’s mother Molini Alema testified that Pitoitua had assaulted Esther that day, which caused the mother to seek help from a neighbour who advised her to call the Police.
This resulted in the Police raiding Pitoitua’s house later that evening.
It was Esther coming out of the bedroom who discovered the Police had arrived and were in the process of raiding the property.
According to the Police evidence Pitoitua is well known to the Police, from previous encounters, at which they convened a large raiding party to enter and search his premises.
The court found that Police undertook a lawful search of the property and discovered large quantities of marijuana and meth on the premises, all in Pitoitua’s bedroom.