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Drug defendant sentenced to probation and ordered to leave the territory

[SN file photo]

While a drug defendant was sentenced to probation and ordered to leave the territory after serving only 6 months of his 5-year sentence, Chief Justice Michael Kruse also ordered the government’s attorney in the case to bring all the contraband and the paraphernalia that police seized from the defendant to court sometime this week for the court to review it.

The order was made after Kruse delivered the court’s sentence for Sio Olomali’i last Friday morning in High Court. When Kruse wanted to know what was seized by police from the defendant, prosecutor Woodrow Pengelly responded that he believed there was a glass pipe.

“Where is it, did you bring it to court?” asked Kruse. Pengelly responded, “No your honor, I believe it’s inside the evidence room.”

Kruse scratched his head and smiled for a moment, then ordered the government to bring the evidence to court this week. Attorney for the defendant, Douglas Fiaui added, saying that the police also seized a backpack belonging to his client on the day of his arrest, and Olomali’i really needs it back.

“Government, bring all those things to court next week. I don’t think you (government) need the backpack. Bring all the contraband and the paraphernalia to court. Marshall, make sure these things are destroyed except for the backpack. I don’t want these things to be recycled or to be used by somebody else,” said Kruse.

Olomali’i, a 31-year-old man from Samoa who works as a bus driver in the territory entered into a plea bargain with the government for the charge of unlawful possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine).

An individual contacted police, for assistance, after he witnessed Olomali’i smoking a glass pipe inside his aiga bus.

The witness told police he’s known the defendant for a long time, and this wasn’t the first time he’s witnessed him doing this. When police pulled the defendant’s bus over for a traffic violation, a search of the bus and Olomali’i produced a glass pipe with meth inside.

When questioned by police, Olomali’i admitted that the glass pipe belonged to him, and he had purchased it from a longtime friend for $50. He also told police that he used meth to keep himself awake while performing work as a bus driver.

During his sentencing Olomali’i apologized to the court for breaking the laws of the territory, and for using drugs while working as a bus driver. He told the court that the 4 months and two weeks he spent in jail taught him a lesson, and he told the court that using drugs is not only illegal but also not good for a person like him who came here to the territory to look for a good future for his family.

He assured the court that he will never break any laws of the territory again and he will do his best to stay away from trouble in the future. In closing, he begged the court to give him another chance to go back home and find another job to care for his elderly parents, who depend on him financially.

“I come from a poor family who only depend on their plantation to survive. I came here to earn a good living for my parents, but it’s sad to see how things end like this. What I did was wrong, and I assure the court that if I am given another chance, I will never be in this court room again,” said Olomali’i.

Both Pengelly and Fiaui asked the court for a probated sentence. Fiaui told the court that his client was truly remorseful, and he wants another chance to be with his elderly parents. Fiaui stated that Olomali’i is the only person in the family who works to take care of his parents.

Due to the fact that Olomali’i’s immigration status is now illegal, Fiaui asked the court to allow him to depart the territory and remain outside of the territory as a condition of his probation.

After reviewing all the facts about the case, the court sentenced Olomali’i to a term of imprisonment of 5 years, and a fine of $5,000. Execution of sentence was suspended for the period of 5 years, and the defendant was placed on probation for the period of suspension under certain conditions.

For his term of detention, the court ordered the defendant to serve only 6 months of detention, the balance was stayed on the condition that he immediately depart the territory and remain outside of its borders for the period of his probation. He is credited for the 4 months and two weeks he already served in jail.