Deidre Tautua – Fanene
The 17-year-old male who broke into Team Papua New Guinea accommodations at the Faleula Games Village at the start of the recent Pacific Games, is to write an apology letter to the visitors he stole from.
The apology is included as one of the special conditions of living under supervision for the next 2 years.
He is also to attend the Samoa Victim Support Group, SVSG, Youth Development Programme and must carry out 300 hours of community service with SVSG.
Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala– Warren handed the non-custodial sentence down this week.
The defendant used a fake identity card to break into the Games Village last month and stole several valuables from members of Team PNG, while dressed in the visitors sports wear.
Close to $7,500 worth of stolen properties were taken that included passports, lap top computers, keyboards and chargers, mobile phones and bag.
According to the summary of facts admitted by the accused, on 9 July 2019 he pretended to be a PNG athlete and asked a driver to drop him off at the house assigned to the Team PNG within the Games Village.
He was apprehended before he left the village compound so all properties were returned to the athletes.
Justice Tafaoimalo in her sentencing considered against sending the defendant to prison because of his young age.
“If it were not for the accused’s age of 17 years, I would have imposed a custodial sentence today,” Justice Tafaoimalo said.
“His offending was calculated and designed to cause a great deal of stress and inconvenience to athletes visiting Samoa if he had made it outside the gates of the Games Village with all their passports.
“He would have known that these passports were of no value to him and would have taken them for the sole reason of stressing the owners of the passports.”
Justice Tafaoimalo expressed concern at the criminal action reflects poorly on Samoa as the host country of the Pacific Games.
“It damages our reputation to foreigners and devalues the good work that the whole country contributed to making the Games a success.”
The defendant was directed to remember his experience in custody and to be reminded that if he appears before the court again on similar offending, he will not be a first offender and will most likely end up in prison.
The age factor played a deciding role in the court ruling to concentrate on the rehabilitation of the young offender during his 2 years supervision for burglary and theft.