Appeal court reduces sentence of former SGA employees convicted of TAS


The Appeal’s court has quashed the eight month sentencing for Talosaga Wales Amosa and Lui Feseetai who were found guilty following a trial in the Supreme Court on charges of theft as a servant in July this year. 

In turn, they were given three months in jail and to be credited for time served. 

The two men are former employees of the Samoa Gambling Authority and appealed their sentences on the grounds that they were manifestly excessive; were disparate with sentences earlier imposed on co-offenders who pleaded guilty to similar charges, or were wrong in principle because excessive weight had been given to their maintenance of innocence or lack of remorse or by failing to give proper credit for restitution. 

The appellants were employed by the Authority as operators of the ticket vending terminals.

Like their co-offenders, they implemented a scheme to defraud the Authority and its customers by turning off the power supply to the terminal at the midway point in the ticket printing process. This step had the effect of destroying the terminal’s memory of the ticket’s details. 

Following the trial, the Chief Justice found the charges proven against each appellant and convicted them. He adopted a structured approach to the sentencing process.

He applied a common starting point of 12 months imprisonment for both men to give appropriate weight to the objective of deterrence and to take into account the aggravating factors of grave abuses of trust and confidence, premeditation, brazenness, the deceit of customers, and the serious adverse effect on public confidence in the Authority. 

“Accordingly, we allow both appeals and quash the terms of eight months imprisonment imposed on both appellants. In substitution, we impose terms of three months for each to take account of time served.” 

Furthermore, the Appeal Justices noted that the terms of this judgment, the sentence imposed by the Appeal Court to the particular circumstances of their appeals and are not to be treated as a precedent for departing from existing sentencing practices or levels following conviction in the future for an employee or related dishonesty offending.