Boxing gold medallist given second chance after theft charge

A boxing gold medallist has been given a second chance at freedom after a Court sentenced him on Friday to community service focusing on helping less fortunate children for charges of theft and burglary.

Nuuuli Livai, of Tanugamanono, a gold medallist in the Pacific Mini Games 2017 and Pacific Games appeared before the Supreme Court yesterday for sentencing.

He pleaded guilty to one count of burglary and one count of theft for stealing money and other belongings from his aunt in 2017. 

Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala – Warren convicted Livai and sentenced him to 300 hours' community work at the Samoa Victims Support Group. 

The prosecution had requested a custodial sentence of fifteen months imprisonment; the Judge decided to impose a non-custodial sentence. 

While the gold medallist has appeared twice before the Court for the same offence, Justice Tafaoimalo said she took into account that Livai started his own rehabilitation through boxing. 

She made reference to the Community Justice Act 2018 which provides that a Court, when imposing a sentence, must have regard to the desirability of keeping offenders in the community as far as that is practicable and consistent with the safety of the community. 

“I acknowledge work that has been done by the boxing coaches and federation on this young man,” said Justice Tafaoimalo. 

“This is, for this young man, the defining point, because in the absence of that, the sentence today would most certainly be custodial. 

“This sentence is an attempt again by the Court to work with the sporting community in addressing the causes of crime, and keeping our young people occupied with sport and out of trouble.”

She encouraged the 25-year-old to continue his discipline and commitment to his sport and he will no doubt go onto achieve higher goals in his sport. 

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In addition, she warned him that if he appears again on similar offending “no number of gold medals will save you” from a custodial sentence. 

Livai's probation report says that he was angry with his Aunt and was merely getting back at her. 

The Aunt also wished for the matter to be withdrawn. 

According to the summary of facts, on 27 September 2017, the accused broke into his Aunt's house at 3am. 

He broke the lock of a clothing chest and took $1200 and one packet of cigarettes. 

He also took 2 cell phones as part of the same offence. 

He pleaded guilty to the charges on 16 October 2017.

In 2017 he appeared for his Court matter where he pleaded guilty and was ordered to attend the Toe Afua se Taeao Fou programme. 

But he failed to appear in Court on 11 January 2018; a warrant for his arrest was issued. 

A year later he appeared voluntarily on January 2019 and was due to appear in Court on 4 February 2019. 

He again failed to appear; another arrest warrant was issued. 

On 12 July 2019, he voluntarily appeared with the Team Manager of the Boxing Federation and that warrant was set aside.

The gold medallist has previous convictions in 2015 for burglary and theft.  

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