Panel of judges reduces armed robber’s sentence, say guilty plea should be considered

Holoki e tautea 'o Samuela 'Alatini e he Fakamaau'anga Tangi mei he ta'u fakakatoa e 18 ki he ta'u pe 'e 12. Ko e tautea eni 'o 'Alatini 'i ha ngaahi kaiha'a ne ne fakahoko.

An armed robber has had his sentence reduced after a successful appeal in the Court of
Appeal.

In 2008 Samuela ‘Alatini pleaded guilty to charges of robbery, armed robbery and
conspiracy to commit armed robbery, causing grievous bodily harm and various firearms
charges. He was originally sentenced to 15 years in jail.

A suspended sentence of three years was activated, extending his sentence to 18 years.
In February this year the Lord Chief Justice granted the appellant leave to appeal out of
time.

The robbery took place on March 20, 2008. ‘Alatini, accompanied by ‘Opeti Fekau, followed a vehicle until it stopped at a shop. ‘Alatini threw the victim out and got into the driver’s seat.

Fekau got into the front passenger’s seat. They drove off with a bag containing cash of $6000, recharge cards to the value of $1000 and a digital camera valued at $400.

The armed robbery took place six days later. ‘Alatini, Fekau and three rented a car and
changed its appearance.

The following day they staged a robbery outside the Westpac Bank
at Kolofo’ou. ‘Alatini and Fekau, who were armed with shotguns, tried to take a handbag
from a girl, who resisted.

One of her colleagues tried to help her and ‘Alatini shot him in the
thigh.

The robbery netted the thieves $3000 and a mobile phone worth $375.

When they were arrested, all five pleaded guilty. ‘Alatini was sentenced to 15 years and an
existing suspended sentence to his sentence to 18 years.

‘Alatini’s appeal against his sentence was considered by a panel of three judges. In their
report the judges said they considered the sentence of 15 years was too high and that a
starting point of 10 years should have been used to determine the length of sentence and
that ‘Alatini’s guilty plea should be considered.

This reduced his basic sentence to nine years and nine months.

With the addition of the three years suspended sentence, the judges ruled that ‘Alatini
should serve 12 years and nine months.

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