Juveniles stealing prevalent in Honiara: Court

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Young people ending up in court for stealing is prevalent in Honiara, it is reported.

Principal Magistrate Augustine Aulanga uttered this when sentencing a juvenile to 12 months’ imprisonment yesterday for stealing three iPhones sum-worth $15,200 and cash of $14,000 from a residence in Honiara in March this year.

Aulanga, while explaining the non-custodial sentence, said stealing from shops and business houses is now a very common occurrence in Honiara.

“The number of cases coming to the court is self-evident that property offence committed by young persons or juveniles is prevalent in Honiara,” Aulanga said.

Thus court, he said, should pass sentences which are also of a deterrent nature for like-minded members of public especially juveniles.

Aulanga said stealing is not natured but nurtured and no young person is a born-stealer.

He said a person only learns how to steal by developing bad attitudes during his/her life. As a result of the economic and other difficult circumstances faced by many people in Honiara, this bad attitude is prevalent and is now proliferating amongst many young people.

Regarding yesterday’s sentencing, Aulanga said:

“The gravamen of this offence involves a deliberate and outright theft of a significant amount of money, that is, $14,000. Hence, the court should not just shrug it off with a lenient sentence that will indirectly send a message to juvenile offenders that is okay to steal. In other words, when it comes to a serious theft offence like the present case, the court should not shirk its duty by giving a noncustodial form of sentence to this offender since this will be seen as sending a wrong message to likeminded juveniles and the public at large, taking into account that stealing from shops and business houses is now very common.”