The suspended Deputy Commissioner of the Electoral Commission Afualo Darryl Mapu has been found guilty of possession of narcotics, utensils, firearms and ammunition.
His co-defendant Marie Fanueli has been acquitted. The decision was handed down by Supreme Court Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren this afternoon.
The defendant will be sentenced on 14 October 2022 at 12.30 pm. A pre-sentence report is ordered and that bail will continue until the date of sentencing.
According to the sentencing judge in December last year Police at the Police conducted a search for firearms, at the family home of Daryl Mapu at Nuu Fou. The search warrant was issued by Police Commissioner Auapa’au Logoitino Filipo under section 21 of the Arms Ordinance 1960.
Police found Mapu and Marie Fanueli in an upstairs bedroom where Found firearms, ammunition and 2 glass pipes were found which led to the charges before the Supreme Court. Police Also found in a pocket of the shorts worn by Daryl were alleged narcotics.
Justice Tafaoimalo accepted that Daryl was in occupation of the house and in particular the bedroom within which the firearms and ammunitions were found.
“Daryl gave evidence, corroborated by Pelepesite that Pelepesite was the owner of the firearms and ammunition. There is no doubt that Pelepesite obtained the firearms and ammunitions as he admitted to this in Court.
“However I find that Daryl was in possession of the firearms and ammunition, in conjunction with Pelepesite. When the Police first arrived and asked about the 9mm, Daryl took them to the bedroom. When Daryl was asked about the 9mm lying on the bed in clear view and cocked ready to be discharged, he replied “o le mea lena na aumai ai le faga” (that’s how the gun was brought).
“If he had no knowledge of the gun on the bed, he would not have replied in that manner.” Inspector Tagaloasa Toddy Iosefo testified that the gun was visible from under the mattress which is why he lifted the mattress.
“I accept this evidence. This means that Daryl who was in the bedroom for more than an hour was aware of these firearms. At no point did Daryl tell the Police at the search that the firearms and ammunitions did not belong to him.”
Justice Tafaoimalo found that the evidence was incredibly consistent and too precise. Their evidence came across as rote and rehearsed. Some imprecision is to be expected from two witnesses about the same events. I do not accept their evidence on this issue and Daryl has not displaced the deeming provision.
“For the sake of completeness and in terms of possession, Daryl had knowledge of the firearms and ammunition that were in the bedroom. I find that he intended to exercise control and did in fact exercise control over them. Daryl is the owner of the home.”
“I do not accept his evidence that he had no access to the bedroom and had to ‘faanoi’ Pelepesite for use of the bedroom. I do not find his or Pelepesite’s evidence on this issue to be reliable or realistic,” ruled the Supreme Court Justice.
On the charge of utensils, Justice Tafaoimalo says that while she accepts all of Pelepesite’s evidence on his extensive knowledge and description of the narcotics and utensils. “But it is important to note that while I accept Pelepesite’s evidence that he obtained the narcotics and utensils, I find that this does not exclude Daryl’s liability as being in possession of these.
“This is a situation where these items are in the joint possession of Daryl and Pelepesite, who is not charged in this case.” Regarding the other defendant, Fanualelei Justice Tafaoimali says there is no evidence which satisfies the court that she had an intention to exercise custody of or control of either the narcotics, utensils, firearms or ammunition.
“She is by no means a regular visitor to Daryl’s house, having been there about 2-3 times in 3 months. She happened to be in the bedroom with Daryl on the evening of the Police search.”