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Serial burglar jailed for nine months

The Supreme Court has sentenced a serial burglar to nine months imprisonment in relation to the theft of over $3,000 tala worth of store goods from K.F. Mart in Fugalei.

The defendant Ropati Samoa of Solosolo and Vaimoso was jailed by Supreme Court Justice Mata Keli Tuatagaloa over the theft of 25 cartons of cigarettes, four crates of beer and $50 cash to a total value of $3,753.00. 

However, he disputed the amount of items he stole which led to the Prosecution amending the summary of facts to state that he removed 16 cartons of cigarettes [10 of which a co-defendant had taken]; four crates of beer and $50 cash.

The accused had pleaded guilty to charges of burglary and theft of items at the Chinese-owned supermarket.

The court heard that he entered the supermarket by breaking a back window.

“The amended summary of facts confirms that the 16 cartons of cigarettes were recovered and returned to the owner including one [...] bottle of Taula strong beer,” stated the summary of facts.

Justice Tuatagaloa said the accused had been identified through security video cameras installed in the supermarket. 

“He [the defendant] has a long history of offending, consisting mainly of similar offences. The penalty for burglary is [a] maximum [of] 10 years imprisonment and [a] maximum seven years imprisonment for theft, based on the total amount of the properties taken,” the Judge said when sentencing the defendant.

The Prosecution identified as aggravating factors,which were to be taken into consideration when deciding the defendant’s sentencing, as his history of offending, prior character and long history of prior offending including offences of a similar nature. 

Justice Tuatagaloa said most of the stolen goods were recovered but the fact remains that he re-offended.

“Although most of the goods were recovered, the fact remains that the accused carried out the offending to which he has a history of,” the Judge said.

“I agree that a custodial sentence is nevertheless appropriate. I consider 12 months [the] starting point [for what we consider] as appropriate.

“The only mitigating factor is the accused’s early guilty plea and, for that, a 25 per cent discount of three months is allowed by the court. 

“The accused is convicted and sentenced to nine months imprisonment.”

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