Serial mat thief mother given suspended sentence after stealing costly mats worth $14,000 in Tongatapu

A 37-year-old woman has been sentenced to seven years imprisonment after she broke into a house in Nukunuku and stole mats and ta’ovala with a total value of $14,100.

Justice Laki Niu suspended ‘Ana Katokakala Siale’s sentence for three years on condition that she must not commit an offence punishable by imprisonment within the period of three years of her suspension.

Siale pleaded guilty to two charges of serious housebreaking and theft.

Siale was sentenced to five-year imprisonment for the housebreaking offence. For theft offence, she was sentenced to two years imprisonment. Both sentences were to be served concurrently and suspended.

The court heard that on 15 June 2020 Siale  broke into the dwelling house of Milise Vaiangina in Nukunuku and stole the valuable goods.

According to court records, in 2004 the mother of seven broke into a house and stole a ta’ovala and piece of tapa that belonged to her mother’s sister and sold them to get money. She was later charged and convicted of that theft.

In that case, she was fined $100 and ordered to pay compensation of $500.

In 2012, she bought a ta’ovala worth $800 for $200 knowing it had been stolen.

She was ordered to be on probation for two years but after the probation ended, she went and broke into a house in Kolomotu’a in 2015 and stole mats and ta’ovala from there.

“You offered the properties as security for loans you took from loan businesses at Havelu and Mataika. You did not repay the loans and the properties were put up for sale on the net and the owner identified them as hers,” the judge said.

“You were arrested, charged and convicted and you were sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, 6 months of which you served and 12 months were suspended for 2 years.”

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