Prisoner should never have served time in prison says judge as he discharges case

    Pehē ‘e fakamaau lahi Laki Niu ne ‘ikai tonu ia ke ngāue pōpula ‘a Paula Misieli Moala hili ‘ene tali halaia mo hano kaungā tukuaki’i ki hano kaiha’asi ‘o ha senoleita fe’unga mo e pa’anga $4,500. Na’e makatu’unga ‘eni ‘i he pehē na’e ‘ikai hano lekooti faihia ‘ona’ ki mu’a pea matamata ‘e ‘i ai pe faingamālie kiate ia ke fakalelei'i ‘ene mo’ui. Ne tautea foki ia ‘e he fakamaau polisi’ ke ngāue pōpula ‘i he māhina ‘e 12 pea holoki 'o hiva ka ne pehē ‘e he fakamaau’anga lahi ne tonu ia ke toloi kotoa ‘a e tautea koia’. Ne ‘osi kamata ngāue pōpula ‘a Moala ‘i ha ‘aho ‘e 32 ki mu’a pea fai ko ‘eni ‘ene tangi ‘o tuku ange ai ia’.

    The Supreme Court has discharged a man after serving 32 days of a sentence for theft.

    In his judgement Judge L.M. Niu said the man, Paula Misieli Moala, had pleaded guilty, together with another accused person, to theft of a generator valued at TP$4500.

    They were sentenced by the Magistrate Court to 12 months imprisonment reduced to nine month on account of their guilty pleas and having had no previous conviction.

    Neither of them had legal counsel.

    On November 24, an appeal was filed on the grounds that the sentence should have been fully suspended because the accused had no previous conviction and was likely to take the opportunity to rehabilitate himself.

    On December 7 the Lord Chief Justice granted bail and the appellant was released from prison on the same day.

    Judge Niu said the whole of the nine months imprisonment sentence ought to have been suspended.

    “However, because the appellant has already served 32 days of that sentence in prison before he was granted bail, both counsel, and the appellant himself, and I, agreed that because imprisonment has been served for 32 days, his sentence should simply be those 32 day,” the judge said.

    He said Moala should not have served any sentence and there should be no further penalty hanging over him.

    The main points

    • The Supreme Court has discharged a man after serving 32 days of a sentence for theft.
    • Paula Misieli Moala, had pleaded guilty, together with another accused person, to theft of a generator valued at TP$4500.

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