The Supreme Court has sentenced a former school teacher to two years in prison for cultivating cannabis.

The sentence has been fully suspended for three years.

Tinitale Finau was found guilty by a jury of growing  54 cannabis plants, at ‘Ohonua, ‘Eua.

Judge Niu said two police officers, Hungalu and Fa’asolo were led by a little girl into the bush area near the ‘Eua High School at ‘Ohonua and showed them where she had pulled out three cannabis plants which her father had brought to the police station.

The area shown to them contained several other well weeded and maintain cannabis plants.

“The little girl left and the two officers hid nearby and waited to see if anyone would come to tend the plants, but no one did and so they left at about 9 pm,” Judge Niu said.

“The next morning Officer Hungalu and Officer Tu’ivai went back about 6 am and hid and waited. About 9am you arrived. They then came out and arrested you and charged you with possession of the plants.

“Then together with you they searched in the bush and found two other plots of cannabis, and you told them of a fourth plot. Later on you told them of another three plots, making a total of 54 cannabis plants.”

Finau was head of the maths department at ‘Eua High School until he was charged.

“I agree with the Crown counsel that the appropriate sentence for your offence is two years imprisonment,” the judge said.

“I agree with the probation officer that your sentence be suspended.”

Juidge Niu said Finau had led a productive and useful life and continued to contribute to the community.

“You have rehabilitated yourself and have got on with your kava farming to maintain yourself and your family. This offence is out of character for you and I believe you will resume your law-abiding life in the years to come.”

The judge sentenced Finau to two years’ prison fully suspended for three years, on condition that he not commit another offence punishable with imprisonment during the period of suspension and serve 80 hours of community service.