Supreme Court dismisses 12 year old case, says charges ‘misconceived’ and no case to answer

Ta'u e 12 fetakai he keisi ko 'eni’ pea kuo iku fakata'e'aonga'i 'e he Tokoni Eiki Fakamaau Lahi 'a hono faka'ilo ne makatu’unga he tukuaki’i 'o Heleni Ruby Ma’afu pea kuo faka'atā ki he ngaahi mole fakapa’anga he kautaha ne ne ngāue ai’. Na’e ‘ikai ke ne ‘ave ‘e ia ha pa’anga. Ko e Fakamaau Lahi’ ia.

The Supreme Court has dismissed a 12 years-old accusation of theft.

In 2008 Heleni Ruby Ma’afu, an employee of Pacific Travel Marketing Ltd, took TP$36,046 from bank cards of customers of Pacific Travel Marketing Ltd.

The case was not received by the attorney general for prosecution until 2018, which the judge described as “inordinate delay.”

There was no dispute that she had wrongly used customer’s credit card details to pay for travel on occasions when no travel debts were outstanding with the company. As a result, various sums were provided to the company as credit.

When she was caught she was fired and any financial losses had to be made good. A complaint was made to the police.

“There is no  complaint that the accused used any money for her own purposes but it is alleged she used the money to enhance the company’s position and reduce its overdraft, although it is apparent why she was motivated to do this,” the judge said.

The defence argued that Ma’afu had not done anything which involved taking property under section 143 of the Criminal Offences act.

The judge said the wording of the charge against her was misconceived and suggested she too he money from bank cards of customers.

“She did not take any money,” the judge said.

“All she did by her deception was to influence the advancing of credits to the bank for the fictitious debts if its customers.

“For these reasons I rule that the case cannot amount to a dishonest “taking” as section 143 require.

“The Crown cannot establish a prima facie case, so I rule the accused has no case to answer and the case is dismissed.”


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