A high court in Suva has sentenced to prison three men for breaking into a 75-year-old farmer’s home in Lawaki, Tailevu, and stealing over $3000 worth of items.
Evineri Batabua, 22, Sebasitiano Vereti, 23, and Jovilisi Kanatabua, 19, were convicted and received an aggregate sentence of 18 months imprisonment
The incident occurred while the owner and his family were overseas between 19 December 2022 and 6 January. Among the items stolen was a TV which was the only item police could recover after they received information about the stolen goods being sold.
In court, the three men showed remorse and pleaded guilty at an early stage. Their families also apologised to the victim. However judge Justice Daniel Goundar considered aggravating factors, such as the substantial loss of valuable property suffered by the elderly and vulnerable victim. He also acknowledged mitigating factors, including the defendants’ youth and good character.
Goundar set a starting point of three years in jail for the offenses but ultimately sentenced each accused to 18 months in prison after considering all the factors. He said that being young and having a good character did not excuse their actions, as anti-social behavior among youth is prevalent. Goundar partially suspended the sentence, with six months to be served in prison and the remaining 12 months suspended for three years.