Supreme Court suspends final year of drug sentence after accused makes late guilty plea

Tautea ngāue pōpula ‘a Christopher Ta’ufo’ou laka hake ‘i ha ta’u ‘e ua ki he ma’u mo e malisuana. Ne ma’u ia mo ha kalami kenapisi ‘e 634.54 pehē foki ki he ma’u ia mo ha me’afana laifolo 22 mo ha mahafu ka ne ‘ikai ha’ane laiseni.

The Supreme Court has sentenced Christopher Ta’ufo’ou to  more than two years in jail for possession of marijuana.

Ta’ufo’ou was sentenced to two years and three months for possession.

He was arrested on  March 17, 2017, after being found in possession of a substantial amount of cannabis, totalling 635.54 grams.

This comprised one bag containing cannabis found on the front lawn, one cannabis branch with leaves found in the living room and one bag with cannabis seeds found in the first bedroom.

Police also found three bundles of cannabis plant branches found in the ceiling and four cannabis branches found in the ceiling.

In addition, seven bags containing small plastic bags suitable for packaging small amounts of cannabis were found.

He was charged with possession of illicit drugs and possession of a 22. 22 calibre long rifle live ammunition without a licence.

On July 14, 2017, he pleaded not guilty to both counts, but shortly before the trial he pleaded guilty to count one and the Crown withdrew a charge of possession against his wife and offered no evidence on the second count.

Judge Cato said he would suspend the last year of Ta’ufo’ou’s sentence on condition that he not commit any offences punishable by imprisonment for the term of his suspension;

He would be placed on probation for the period of his suspension;

He would also be required to undergo a course on drug abuse with the Salvation Army.

“Although not a first offender, this is the prisoner’s first conviction of drugs,” Judge Cato said.

“His plea of guilty was not a timely plea, being on the point of trial, but I take into account that the Crown withdrew a second charge of possession of ammunition and a charge of what would have amounted to joint possession against his wife, also at this late stage.

“I will accordingly give him full credit for his guilty plea and expression of remorse. I also take into account, but only to a limited degree, that he is the breadwinner for his family and they will be deprived of his maintenance whilst he is in custody.”

The main points

  • The Supreme Court has sentenced Christopher Ta’ufo’ou to  more than two years in jail for possession of marijuana.
  • Ta’ufo’ou was sentenced to two years and three months for possession.

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