13 March, 2019 Mulinuu, Samoa – A former employee of Big Bear Company at Fugalei was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment having been found guilty of one charge of theft as a servant.
Twenty one year old Hinckley Mataua of Vailuutai and Samata-i-tai was working for the company last year in May when he and a fellow worker removed merchandise from the store in the middle of the night.
Hinckley was charged together with a fellow employee, however, the other defendant entered an early guilty plea to the charge and is now serving time in prison.
Hinckley pleaded not guilty at first however on the day of the trial he made an application to the Court to change his plea from not guilty to guilty.
Inside the Court earlier today the police summary of facts was read out by prosecutor Avei Faasii.
The incident occurred on the 24th of May 2018.
The court heard that on the day of the alleged incident the company held a late night sale and the store did not close until 9pm in the evening.
I le Aso Tofi poo le 6 i le afiafi sa faapea ona toesea ai e Jonathan ma Hinckley ia ni oloa mai totonu o le kamupani ma tuuina totonu o se taga lapisi ona o loa lea o Hinckley ma Jonathan ave taga lapisi nei i tua o le fale o Big Bear e faatali ai le taimi e manava ai le late night ona la o laia e ave la tagapepa lapisi nei.
Pe o se mea i le va o le 11 i le po agai i le 12 o le vaveao o le aso na sosoo ai sa faapea ona o ai loa lea o Jonathan ma Hinckley aumai taga pepa lapisi ia sa i tua o le Big Bear.
I le taimi lea o le la gaioiga sa laua iloaina ai le sikulati poo le leoleo põ a le Big Bear sa faapea ona ave ai loa e Hinckley ma Jonathan le tupe i le security ma mafai ona oese mai ai loa ma taga lapisi nei o loo iai mea ia na laua gaoia i totonu.
The reports says the first defendant Jonathan sold the stolen items to his friend and received $270 from it.
The stolen items include, 20 mosquito nets, 45 ie lavalava and 2 chinese mats and the total amount of the stolen items estimated to $2,121.50.
According to prosecution the night watchman for the neighbouring business, Farmer Joe Fugalei reported the matter to the police because he saw what had happened on the other side of the road.
In handing down her decision, Justice Tafaoimalo said the maximum penalty for the charge of theft as a servant is 10 years imprisonment.
Theft as a servant is a serious offense because of the high penalty.
She said the most aggravating feature of the offense is the value of the goods stolen goods which was over $2,000 tala.
“Another aggravating factor is the breach of trust in terms of an employee;
“So it is that trust, that you were paid to do a certain job and in return you took property.”
In determining a starting point Justice Tafaoimalo took the two aggravating factors into account and placed the starting point at 16 months imprisonment.
“I deduct 4 months for your personal circumstances, you are 21 years old and this is the first time you appear in court; four months deduction for your previous good character, and two months for your guilty plea.
“You are convicted and sentenced to six months imprisonment minus the time you spent in custody.”