Night Watchman Guilty of Being Party to Theft

“Just so you understand, even though you weren’t the one who took the bags, you did not touch the bags, you are still a party to this offense,”

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06 February 2019, Mulinuu Court, Apia Samoa.  A night watchman has been found guilty of being party to theft as a servant after aiding 2 staff members of Big Bear who had returned at night to remove 20 mosquito nets, 45 ie lavalava and 2 chinese mats from the business premises.

60-year old Fa’ae’e Fa’asipa of Aufaga was charged with the other two defendants Jonathan Aiatia and Hinckley Mataua.

The decision was handed down by Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren after a short hearing in the Supreme Court yesterday.

The main prosecution witness was Jonathan Aiatia, who is currently serving prison time after entering an early guilty plea for the offending that took place on the 25th of May 2018.

Lucy Sio-Ofoia of Prosecution called Jonathan Aiatia who told the Court he and Hinckley stole 20 mosquito nets, 45 ie lavalava and 2 chinese mats.

Jonathan told the Court that he had removed the goods from the store earlier in the day, and placed them into a black rubbish bag. He had then placed the goods with the outside garbage with the intention of coming back later at night for them.

“Sa ou faigaluega i le aso lea na ou aveeseina ai oloa nei mai le faleoloa ma ou kago ku’u i kokogu o le kaga lapisi uliuli.

“Ga ou alu lea ao uma lapisi a le faleoloa ma ave ai ma le kagapepa uliuli lea kiai i fafo o le lapisi ma lo’u fa’amoemoe se’i o’o i le po oga ou koe sau lea avaku.”

Jonathan added, at around 11pm in the evening he and Hinckley came back for the goods, and that is when Fa’ae’e had started his duty as night watchman.

Ms. Sio-Ofoia then asked the witness if Fa’ae’e had seen them to which Jonathan replied yes. Jonathan told the Court that Fa’ae’e asked what they were removing, and they told him it was goods from the shop.

Jonathan said that Fa’ae’e then warned them, saying, “Make sure you don’t get caught” – “Vaai seisi i maua”.

The witness told the Court that he then gave the night watchman $10 tala as they left the business premises with the stolen goods. He added that Hinckley had also given Fa’ae’e some money.

“Pau a le kala a Fa’ae’e ga fai mai, ia va’ai seisi i maua. O’u kago loa ku’u iai le $10 kala, ae ou ke leiloa pe fia se kupe ga ave iai e Hinckley.”

Justice Tafaoimalo returned with a decision after a 10 minute recess.

In delivering her decision Justice Tafaoimalo told the defendant that not only did he know what Jonathan and Hinckley were doing, he had failed to report them and also took money from them.

“In your police statement which is undisputed – you knew what they did..you omitted to do anything and you received money.

“Just so you understand, even though you weren’t the one who took the bags, you did not touch the bags, you are still a party to this offense,”

“When you omitted to do any action instead of reporting them.

Justice Tafaoimalo concluded, “And unfortunately for you this makes you guilty of being a party to theft as a servant.”

The matter has been adjourned for sentence on the 13th of March.