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Court Report



A Pava’ia’i man convicted of burglarizing stores, a school and several residences was sentenced to ten years in jail. Gabriel Tinai, 25, was charged in connection with four separate burglary cases and last month pleaded guilty to one count from each four cases in which he was implicated. He pled guilty to first degree and second degree burglary, and in return the government dismissed the other burglary and stealing charges.


The defendant apologized to his mother, his village of Pava’ia’i, the court and the government for his actions and also pleaded with the court for another chance.


He told the court he’s learned a lesson and wants to return to his family as the jail is not a good place for him. Richmond noted the court is puzzled as to the right words they can use in handing down sentencing for the defendant, who’s a repeat offender. He noted that Tinai is not new to the court system, having committed similar acts of stealing and burglary before.


The Associate Justice pointed out to Tinai that he shouldn’t apologize to the government as ASG was not a victim — but rather, he should apologize to members of the public. He noted that it is the government’s job to protect the people and stand before the court on behalf of the public.


Public Defender Douglas Fiaui noted that back in 2008 the defendant was convicted in a stealing case, and he’s again before the court for similar acts, but Fiaui asked the court to be lenient when handing down sentencing for Tinai.


The prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Tony Graf then asked the court to jail the defendant for the minimum allowable under the law, which is six years.


For the two counts of first degree burglary Tinai was sentenced to ten years in jail for each count and for the remaining second degree burglary counts, he was sentenced to seven years for each count. However, the sentence will be concurrent, meaning the defendant will be in jail for a total of ten years.




A man who struck his friend with a beer bottle was sentenced to six months jail term as part of his five year probation. Sinave Tupuola was charged with second degree assault and public peace disturbance, and in a plea deal, he pled guilty to second degree assault while the remaining count wad dismissed. 


During sentencing last Friday, the defendant apologized for his actions to the court, the government and the victim in this matter. The victim was present in court when this matter was called. Assistant Public Defender Mike White, who represents the defendant, recommended to the court to place the defendant on probation, however the prosecuting attorney,  Assistant Attorney General Tony Graf noted the defendant should be incarcerated so he can learn a lesson from the crime he committed. 


The victim took the stand telling the court of the incident which occurred, and informed the court that he and Tupuola have since made up. White asked the victim how he knew the defendant, and he stated that he and Tupuola have been best of friends for over three years.


Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond noted the defendant and the victim are good friends, and the victim has forgiven the defendant however the victim was severely injured as a result of Tupuola’s actions. Richmond sentenced Tupuola to five years in jail, however the execution of sentence was suspended, and the defendant is placed on probation for five years under the condition that he serve 20 months in jail. However, 14 months of that will be suspended, so the defendant will serve six months in jail.


Richmond also granted the defendant’s request for work release and he’ll be released from jail Monday to Friday between 5a.m. and 5p.m. Tupuola was ordered not to consume alcohol or congregate with those who are under the influence, and he must pay the victim’s $85 bill at the hospital.


According to the government’s case, on Feb. 8, 2013 a man walked into the Leone substation requesting assistance while his head was wrapped with a shirt which had blood on it. The victim — who was under the influence of alcohol — told police the defendant, who was also intoxicated, was upset because he wanted to get a loan of $300 from the victim, but he only received $200.


The victim further stated the defendant grabbed his beer and hit him on his head. As a result the victim suffered two lacerations on his forehead. Police spoke to two witnesses who saw the defendant strike the victim on the head.