Man receives suspended sentence for theft

A man has been ordered by the Court to do 150 hours community work for stealing drinks worth more than VT144,000 at a private house in North Efate.

Mikkie Shemi admitted one count of unlawful entry contrary to section 143 and an additional count of theft contrary to section 125 (a) both of the Penal Code Act CAP 135.

Justice Dudley Aru said that unlawful entry is punishable by a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment if the place is used for human habitation while theft carries a maximum penalty of 12 years imprisonment.

0n October 12, 2014 at night Shemi and Jepeth Tui broke into Ian Russell Rhodes’ house and stole two cartons of spirits estimated at VT144,000 and ran away.

No pre-sentence report was provided by the probation officer but Counsel on their behalf, Francis Tasso, has provided helpful information prior to the sentencing.

Shemi is now 22 years old but committed the offence when he was 19 years old.

Shemi is a farmer and lives in a de facto relationship with a 1-year-old child while making a living by producing copra and planting vegetables.

“The prosecution submits that your offending is aggravated by the fact that the offending occurred at night and the goods which were worth an estimated value of VT144,000 were never recovered,” Mr Justice Aru said.

“You performed a custom reconciliation with the complainant and exchanged the following items: VT5,000 as fine, one kava stem worth VT2,000, a mat worth VT1,000 and a pig worth VT5,000.

“It is appropriate to pause and consider the offences of unlawful entry and theft themselves, in a place where such offences are few, it may be possible to pass short sentences.

The Judge then sentenced Shemi to 100 hours of community work for unlawful entry and 50 hours for theft.

He ordered Shemi to complete his punishment within 12 months under the supervision of the police officer in North Efate.

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