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Court Report

Translated by Samoa News staff


A young man convicted of stealing from his former employer have been sentenced by the High Court to serve 20 months in jail as one of the conditions of his 5-year probation. However, execution of the jail term is suspended for Lino Penitito, who was formerly employed with Tri Marine International, and was given only 180 days (or 6 months) behind bars, if he follows every probation condition set by the court.

The court took under consideration, in giving Penitito a lesser time in jail, that the defendant immediately took responsibility for his crime and this is the first time he is charged and convicted with a felony crime.

Once he is released from the Territorial Correctional Facility, Chief Justice Michael Kruse ordered that the defendant has 90 days to find permanent employment. And if he fails to find employment within this time period, he will be sent back to jail to serve out the remaining 14 months of the 20 month jail term.

Other conditions of probation include that the defendant is prohibited from setting foot on Tri Marine property, not committing any crime and being a law abiding citizen at all times.

The court has decided not to order Penitito to depart the territory after serving his jail term. But Kruse warned the defendant that the court would enforce this issue if the defendant fails to comply with conditions of his probation.

Penitito had entered a guilty plea more than a week ago, where he pled guilty to one count of felony stealing, a crime punishable by not more than 5 years imprisonment, or a fine of $5,000 or both. At the time, the defendant sought leniency and for a chance to be released from custody to return home to care for his wife and children and turn his life around.


The High Court has continued to tomorrow sentencing for Ivale Vanuvanu who was convicted early this week of one-count of second-degree assault and the conviction was the result of the defendant assaulting his brother-in-law. Sentencing is set for tomorrow because the bench needed one more judge in order to make a decision for sentencing of a defendant.

While the sentencing was continued, Vanuvanu had the chance to address the court, where he asked for leniency. The defendant claims to be very remorseful for his actions and wants another chance to return home to serve his family and become a better person. He also apologizes to the victim, as well as his sister, who was in the court, and asked the sister for forgiveness.

The sister told the court that her husband — the defendant’s brother-in-law and victim — has forgiven the defendant for what he did.

According to court information, the defendant had spanked the sister’s children while the brother-in-law was present and the brother-in-law got angry. Thereafter the defendant and the victim got into an argument, resulting in the defendant assaulting the victim.

Vanuvanu’s attorney, assistant public defender Michael White sought a probative sentence for his client and an order for him to attend and complete anger management counseling. Assistant attorney general Jerard Murphy asked for a court order that would prohibit the defendant from any contact with the victim to prevent any future arguments that would result in another assault.

Vanuvanu remains in custody since his arrest a couple of months ago unable to post bail.