Four men have been sentenced in the Supreme Court for their roles in a series of burglaries committed in April last year.
Siosaia Hungalu, Lancellot ‘Amanaki Takai Vailea, Faingata’a Manu and Tau’ataina Taufa all pleaded guilty before Judge Niu.
Siosaia Hungalu was charged with multiple counts of abetting theft and housebreaking by driving ‘Amanaki Takai to the scene of two burglaries as well as counts of serious housebreaking and the theft of personal property valued at TP$16,400.
‘Amanaki Takai faced two counts each of serious housebreaking and theft for robberies of personal items, electronics, a firearm, Tongan mats and a kava bowl valued at TP$85,000.
Faingata’a Manu and Tau’ataina Taufa were charged with receiving stolen property, Tongan mats and a kava bowl from ‘Amanaki Takai, believing that those properties had been stolen.
In his sentencing, Judge Niu said Hungalu, 27, no longer worked because he had started taking drugs and had turned to housebreaking and theft. By May 20201 he had committed 17 criminal offences.
He is already serving a two year sentence imposed by the Magistrate’s Court for earlier offences. He was sentenced to a three year term, but will only serve an additional 12 months. The suspension of the rest of his sentence was subject to strict conditions.
‘Amanaki Takai, 34, is serving an 18 months prison sentence which is due to end in December this year.
Judge Niu said Takai had played rugby well in Tonga and New Zealand, but came back because his father was critically ill and could not return to New Zealand because he had been an overstayer.
“The rest is history,” Judge Niu said.
“You took to drinking and drugs, both of which required money which you did not have or wished to work for. You then broke into houses and stole to get money to fund your habits.
“Like birds of a feather, you met up and worked with Siosaia Hungalu on the breaking and entering and stealing to fund both your habits.”
The judge sentenced Takai to three years to be served concurrently, with only one year to be served.
Judge Niu told Faingata’a Manu, 30, that it was time he became “fakapotopoto”, that is, mature and be responsible.
“You say that your work is mowing grass for your step-father for which you are paid about TP$100 a week,” he told the accused.
“That work does not support yourself at present, because you still need more money to fund your drinking and smoking, let alone a wife and children when you are married like you plan to do. The probation officer says that your father-in-law says that you are so unreliable that he does not want you to work for him anymore.
“The officer also says that you told him that you have asthma. If that is true, then smoking and drinking will only make that asthma worse. You should therefore quit smoking and drinking. Besides, you are of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints which prohibits smoking and drinking, as well as drugs of course.”
Manu was sentenced to two years in prison with the sentence fully suspended because of his age, co-operation with police and the likelihood that he would rehabilitate himself.
The judge described Tau’ataina Taufa as 34, married with eight children and not in regular employment. He described him as having a problem with drink and drugs.
He was sentenced to 18 months in prison, with the sentence fully suspended for two years. On the grounds of diminished responsibility, co-operation with the police and the prospect of rehabilitation.