…Sentenced for stealing goods during November riot
BY JENNIFER KUSAPA
A father, mother and their two children were convicted and sentenced for stealing items and goods during the November 2021 riot and looting.
In sentencing the family, Principal Magistrate Leonard Chite said it is an unfortunate case that involves a father, mother, and their two children.
The reason as to why they would indulge in such selfish and callous act was not provided by counsels, Chite said.
This is the case of defendants Pricilla Usui Mae, Jude Mae and Alfred Kingsley Mae and a 17-year-old juvenile son, all charged together with four counts of simple larceny, they pleaded guilty and conviction entered against all the defendants.
The country of Solomon Islands was submerged in an absolute chaos and lawlessness during the days from November 24 to 26, 2021, as looters and rioters stormed the capital city of Honiara, rampaging and destroying shops, business, homes and properties. People were left homeless, jobless, and shattered without hopes for what tomorrow may bring for them. It was during these period that the defendant as a family individually went and stole good from four shops within the vicinity of Ranadi Industrial and commercial area. They returned and stacked the goods in a chicken coop. It was not until an investigation operation ensued that they eventually located and recover the stolen items.
Their participation according to the facts are that, on the date of offence, the defendants Jude and the 17-year-old son, were at their home at Abira settlement, when they saw a group of people along the road, some of them were carrying valuable items and were heading in land, while other were running toward Ranadi area. So, they joined those who ran towards Ranadi area. When they reached Ranadi area, the main road of Prince Philip High way was littered with valuable items or goods, thus the 17-year-old took 2 x 10kg bags of rice. He took the bags of rice at the footpath in front of Low Price Enterprise at Marine School area. Jude Mae, also collected some items. He took the items along the Main Road of Prince Philip Highway Road and the road at Panatina ridge, a chainsaw valued at $6,700.00, a grass cutter valued at $920.00 a Ryobi branded drill valued at $1,100.00 3 x packets of Stihl tools, a mighty seven branded riveter, 3 x M7 grinders, 1 x coil rope B- safe, a green spade, and 3 x miscellaneous metal items in a clear bag.
The mother collected the following from Low Price Enterprise at SINU marine school area; 4 x 10kg of rice valued at $360.00, and a carton Hard Navy biscuit valued at $103.00. As for Mr. Alfred Kingsley Mae, he went to work but was told that there was not work due to rioting, so he returned to their home at Abira Settlement and on his way to White store, he met a group of people carrying goods and someone told him that Big Chainsaw Ranadi store was burnt down, he then proceeded and followed the Tanakake Road and met a little boy who was sitting down with the chainsaw and told him to take it back home, so he did. He went back and helped Richard carry the 3 bags of rice and some sausages and chicken.
Magistrate Chite said the incident was committed by a complete family unit, except for the younger children who were at home.
“How can you parents teach your children to be responsible individuals when you have a totally wrong example for them. The most effective way of teaching is said to be from actions learned that parents does on a daily basis, and both of you have certainly did the opposite and, instead led to them to do wrong and illegal stuff. And on a greater scale, how can we change this nation, when these are the very people who we expect to lead in the years to come.
“If we are not careful, we playing with a ticking time bomb that if not curtailed properly these individuals will become notorious criminals”, Chite said.
Magistrate Chite after considering all the mitigations and sentencing submissions sentenced the father Jude Mae to nine months, while the mother Pricilla Mae and Alfred Mae sentenced to six months and the 17-year-old juvenile to three months and will be suspended for one year on the condition that he must not commit any offence punishable by imprisonment within the period suspended.
However, he further ordered that Pricilla Mae and Alfred Mae to be released from custody on conditions that they should not commit any offence for two years.
Public Prosecutor Myrella Cleven of the Office of the Director Public Prosecution appears for the crown, while Martha Manaka, Emy Rusi and Steven Weago of the Public Solicitor’s Office represent the defendants.