Man jailed for ice, marijuana

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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Court House Mulinuu.

Court House Mulinuu. (Photo: File)

Drug defendant, Teremoana Dan Kamisi, was sentenced to one year and eight months in prison in connection with possession of ice and marijuana.  

Kamisi was represented by Afa Lesa while prosecuting for the Government is Fuifui Ioane of the Attorney General’s Office. 

The defendant appeared for sentence on one charge of possession of 0.8 grams of methamphetamines, possession of one branch of marijuana weighing 1.0 and possession of 44 seeds of marijuana. 

Sentencing was handed down by Supreme Court Justice Lei’ataualesa Darryl Clarke. 

According to the Summary of Facts, on 25 August 2017, Police conducted a search of Dan’s house where he voluntarily handed over the utensil to Police. 

“Police then carried out a body search and Police found a small medicine bottle containing seven small plastic bags of methamphetamine weighing 0.8 grams." 

“The Police then entered the house and found a white plastic bag that contained one marijuana branch weighing 1.0 gram, three straws of different colors, one glass pipe utensil, 44 marijuana seeds, five small plastic bags and two medium plastic bags for the purposes of using for the methamphetamines.” 

Justice Leiataualesa noted the defendant told the Probation Service when assessed he has no prior convictions. 

“You also told me on 11th April when your matter was called for sentencing indication that you had no prior convictions." 

When your prior conviction record was however read to you, you confirmed your prior conviction record, smiled and treated the exchange in terms of your prior conviction record lightly. 

“You have a prior conviction for assault causing injury and being armed with a dangerous weapon for which a non-custodial sentence was imposed.” 

Justice Leiataualesa noted the aggravating factors relating his offending is the quantity of narcotics in your possession consisting of methamphetamine, marijuana branch and the seeds in your possession taken as a whole.

“Prosecution submits that you are dealer or seller of narcotics. On the material before me, I am not satisfied that you are a dealer or seller of the narcotics. I am however satisfied that you are a consumer of drugs." 

“While you have previous convictions from 2015, they are of a different nature. Prosecution submits that your previous convictions show you are not a person of good character and you do not have remorse. These are matters to address in mitigation.” 

The defendant’s early guilty plea was taken as mitigation.

“While to the Probation Service and through your wife, you are said to be remorseful, I find this difficult to accept given that you were not honest with the Court when dealing with your prior conviction record and took that exchange lightly,” stated Justice Leiataualesa during sentencing. 

Justice Leiataualesa noted a deterrent sentence is the only sentence that is appropriate. 

“In terms of your possession of methamphetamine, this is to mark the seriousness of your offending, to deter not only you from future involvement with illegal narcotics, but also to send a clear message to others that if you involve yourself with methamphetamine, you will most likely be imprisoned.”  

Justice Leiataualesa quoted case of His Honour Nelson J stated in Police v Tevaga (supra) and which remains the case:

“All other defendants who have previously appeared before the Court on possession of methamphetamine have received imprisonment penalties and it is highly likely that will continue to be the case." 

“You told the Probation Service that you were shocked when the raid took place at your home at 9.30pm on Saturday 25 August 2017. For others using, dealing or otherwise in possession of this particularly destructive and addictive drug, a similar fate will most likely await them if they continue to use, deal or otherwise possess methamphetamine."

“I adopt totality in sentencing principles and the charge of possession of methamphetamine as the lead charge. Prosecution seeks a start point of two years. Your counsel accepts this start point as appropriate." 

“I have considered the various authorities cited to me. There is no evidence that you possessed these drugs for a commercial purpose,” noted Justice Leiataualesa.  

The Supreme Court Justice noted that Prosecution seeks to uplift the defendant’s sentence for his prior convictions. 

“Those convictions are for offending of a different nature so I will not uplift your sentence, but you will receive no discount for prior good character." 

“Given, however, that you misled the Court, your counsel and the Probation Service in relation to your prior convictions and this involved dishonesty over a period of time and to different persons, I do not accept that you are genuinely remorseful for your offending. There will be no discount for remorse." 

“The only deduction then is for your guilty plea so from two years imprisonment, I deduct four months for your guilty plea leaving an end sentence of one year eight months imprisonment less time remanded in custody.” 

This is concurrent to the other charges; possession of seeds - convicted and sentenced to six months imprisonment; possession of utensils - convicted and sentenced to three months imprisonment; and possession one branch cannabis convicted and sentenced to one month imprisonment. 

“As your sentences are to be served concurrently, this means that your imprisonment term is one year and eight months imprisonment, less any time remanded in custody,” ordered Justice Leiataualesa.

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