‘Epeli Taione who was charged with possession of Class A drugs received a 12-month suspended imprisonment sentence on Friday last week February 26.
His co-accused Creed Tongamoa received 15-month sentence and it was also fully suspended for two years with conditions.
Taione, who is Princess Pilolevu’s son-in-law, was convicted and sentenced to six months’ imprisonment.
The sentence was fully suspended on the conditions that he must not commit any further offences punishable by imprisonment for a period of 1 year.
He must be placed on probation during the period of his suspension.
He must also complete rehabilitation courses on drugs and alcohol as directed by the Probation Office.
In sentencing Taione, Justice Langi said the Crown submitted an overall sentence of six months’ imprisonment for possession of 0.01 grams of cocaine.
She said the court has consistently set a starting point of 12 months’ imprisonment for possession of a Class A illicit drug below 1 gram.
Justice Langi said: “I therefore set a starting point in this case of 12 months’ imprisonment. I deduct 6 months from the starting in light of the fact that up until now he has had a clean record.”
She said she noted that the probation officer is of the opinion that no rehabilitation courses should be ordered because Taione has denied using it and therefore does not have a drug problem.
Miss Langi said: “This is inconsistent with the evidence upon which I had convicted the Accused and inconsistent with his text message that he is sniffing at Creeds. It is disappointing that the Accused continues to maintain his innocence and maintains that he has no drug problem as this sort of behaviour is a sure recipe for re-off ending. Because of the infinitesimally small amount of cocaine in this case, I do not believe that an order for community service is appropriate”.
In sentencing Tongamoa, the judge suspended his sentence in full upon conditions.
The sentence was fully suspended for two years on the conditions that Tongamoa must not commit any further offences punishable by imprisonment during the period of his suspension.
Tongamoa must be put on probation and also must complete rehabilitation courses on drugs and alcohol as directed by the Probation Office