Woman Texting from the Witness Stand Pleads Guilty to Theft as a Servant


A former employee of Treasure Box who pleaded guilty to two charges of theft as a servant and two charges of forgery, was told off for texting while the charges against her were being read out in open Court during criminal mentions on Monday.

Salu Pelenatete Leasi appeared before Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke unrepresented. When asked by the Supreme Court Justice if she were ready to enter a plea, she replied “yes”.

While the Court Registrar read out the Police Summary of Facts outlining the charges against her, Ms Leasi seemed to not be paying attention as her fingers continued to tap away on her phone.

“Are you texting??”, asked Justice Leaiataualesa, looking across the Courtroom to the defendant in the witness stand.

Faced with such an appalling violation of Courtroom etiquette, the Supreme Court Justice ordered the Registrar to remove Ms Leasi’s phone, warning the unrepresented defendant that she ought to be listening more intently to the serious charges against her.

According to the Police Summary of Facts accepted by Leasi, three gold rings were stolen from the Treasure Box by forging the respective owners’ signatures on their release documents.

The Court heard that the first ring valued at $550 talā was taken on the 17th of July while another 2 gold rings valued at $900 ($450 talā each) were removed from the place of her employer on the 28th of July.

Justice Leiataualesa has adjourned the matter for sentencing in December.

Marieta H Ilalio