Judge rebukes mother jailed for drugs
A mother of eight, who is one of eleven suspects in the Faleatiu drug raid, has been rebuked by a Supreme Court Judge for choosing to stay in custody with her husband despite being granted bail.
Senerita Maluolefale, also known as Senerita Asi Malu, of Vaiusu, was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for three counts of possession of narcotics and ammunition.
Her lawyer, Unasa Iuni Sapolu, had asked the Court for leniency towards her client being a mother of eight children.
Unasa said five of the children are those from Malu's husband's first marriage with the other three her own.
But this prompted Justice Mata Keli Tuatagaloa to remind the accused that she did not think of her children when she told the Court she wished to remain in custody with her husband in December.
“She knew she had eight children but she didn’t think of that when she decided to follow her husband in custody,” Justice Tuatagaloa said in Samoan.
In response, Unasa told the Court that her client now understands the consequences of her actions.
Malu was jointly charged with her husband, Kirifi Lealaitagomoa, for two counts of possession of marijuana leaves weighing 40 grams, 160 seeds and possession of ammunition.
She disputed that her husband was in the car during the time the drugs were seized by the Police.
The woman said she was the only one in the car with some of her children.
But Justice Tuatagaloa said the fact that her husband was not in the car is not an issue as the charges before the Court were against her.
In sentencing, the Court took three years as a starting point for charges of possession of narcotics and two years for possession of ammunition.
Justice Tuatagaloa then sentenced the accused to 18 months after deducting time for being a first offender and early guilty plea.
Malu refused to be released on bail last year when prosecution did not oppose bail for her.
The woman told the Court she wished to be in custody by consent so she can be with her husband.
Her husband has so far entered a not guilty plea to the charges against him.
The accused was the first to enter a guilty plea to the charges, when the eleven suspects were taken into custody after the biggest drug bust by the Police in Faleatiu last year.
Police confiscated more than 10,000 marijuana plants, marijuana seeds, utensils, ammunition and firearms from six separate plantations in the village.