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Samoa teacher fined $1,700 for marijuana

A teacher, Kenera Leota, has been found guilty for possession of marijuana.

As a result, he has been fined $1,700.

During sentencing on Monday, Supreme Court Justice, His Honour Vui Clarence Nelson, said the defence offered up by the defendant was that the marijuana was to pay for the workers on his cattle farm.

But this was not an “ethical excuse,” the Court ruled. Justice Vui said as a teacher at Saleapaga, Leota, 25, should have known better. During the hearing, the Court heard the defendant was travelling in a taxi with another occupant carrying a substantial amount of narcotics.

This information was received from a caller who tipped off Police about the vehicle travelling towards Apia.

The call was received by the Afega Police post. At noon that day, the Afega Police stopped the vehicle at check point. Although Leota was searched, Police did not find anything on him, said Justice Vui.

Police, however, found cigarettes on the second occupant of the vehicle. Leota was caught when the Police searched his bag.

There, they found marijuana wrapped in newspaper in a t-shirt weighing 52.1 grams. The Court heard that “over 70 cigarette smokes” could be produced from this amount of marijuana.

Justice Vui told the court that he did not believe the marijuana was purchased to pay workers on Leota’s cattle farm.

“Perhaps they were going to have a Christmas marijuana party,” he suggested. On a more serious note, Leota was given a warning. “I warn you that being involved with illicit narcotics will lead you to places that you don’t want to go to – involuntarily.”

Represented in court by lawyer, Te’o Richard Faaiuaso, Justice Vui was asked to deliver a non custodial sentence on the defendant.

In passing sentence, Justice Vui took into consideration that Leota was fined by his village as a result of the charge against him, his good background as outlined in his pre-sentence probation report, his services to his family, village and church.

As well as verbal support from the President of the school committee and letters of reference from his church minister and village mayor.



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