Judge decries another Rover Vodka link to offences

Locally-made Rover Vodka has come under scrutiny again in the Supreme Court for the number of offences it is getting connected to.

The product was back on the discussion table during the sentencing of two young men last week by Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke, who described the product as "cheap jet fuel."

He appealed to the defendants Fagailima Siaosi, of Letogo, and Maleifua Pita Asomua, of Moamoa and Samauga, to stop consuming the vodka or they will continue to appear before the court.

“I urge you to stop drinking that type of vodka or any of these locally produced vodka because it will simply bring you back here,” said Justice Clarke in his oral decision.  “It is what has been described by the Judges of this court often as cheap jet fuel. It keeps our courtroom very full.”

The two men pleaded guilty to charges of burglary and theft after breaking into a shop at Vailele in October this year. 

They claimed that they were drinking Rover Vodka when they were planning to burglarise the shop for more alcoholic drinks, cigarettes as well as cash that had a total value of $7,000 tala. 

Justice Clarke said burglary and theft is one of the more prevalent offences that almost always involves young men such as the defendants. He said the offending almost involves alcohol such as the Rover Vodka as well as the other locally produced vodkas.

Justice Clarke also reminded the young men that being intoxicated is absolutely no excuse for the offending. 

“You have both spent time in custody for a number of weeks,” he said. “You have both told me that prison is not a good place to be. 

“You both asked me for an opportunity and for you to attend programs so you can address the cause of your offending.” 

Justice Clarke said he has listened to the defendants’ plea and has decided to accept their request to be given another opportunity. 

“I do so because you have not had the opportunity to attend the programmes before to address the cause of your offending,” he said. 

“You have also been assessed as suitable for a community-based sentence by the Probation Service.

“You both, however, need to make the most of this opportunity. If you do not make the most of this opportunity and re-appear before this court, you will likely be imprisoned.”

Furthermore, Justice Clarke said it is now up to the young men to make the most of the opportunity given to them.

“There are generally no second chances for burglary and theft,” he said. “That is why you have the programs so you do not come back. 

“If you do not comply with the sentence I impose today, application can be made to revoke the sentence and for an imprisonment term to be substituted.”

The two men were convicted on all charges and sentenced to 12 months supervision. 

They were both ordered to carry out 150 hours of community service as directed by the Probation Service and to attend the Alcohol and Drug Court program.   

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