Crime & Court

Convicted Youths Told To Plant And Fish To Pay Off $500 Fine

Five youths were given an earful by the magistrate and given until July 21 to pay off their fines after they were convicted of failure to comply with lawful order.
21 Apr 2020 11:40
Convicted Youths Told To Plant And Fish To Pay Off $500 Fine
Petero Qumivutia, Marika Turaga, Sela Bolatagici and Lino Naitoko after they were convicted for breaching social-gathering laws. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

Five youths were given an earful by the magistrate and given until July 21 to pay off their fines after they were convicted of failure to comply with lawful order.

The youths from Tauluga Settlement in Lami breached social gathering orders and were told to plant cassava or catch fish and sell it to pay off their fines.

Semiti Luvuniwasa, 28, Marika Tukana, 22, Sela Bolatagici, 24, Petero Qumivutia, 22 and Lino Kotobalavu, 20, appeared at the Suva Magistrates Court before Magistrate Waleen George.

They all pleaded guilty to the offence and were convicted.

It was heard that at about 2pm on April 18, they were found drinking alcohol at Luvuniwasa’s house.

Luvuniwasa’s neighbour saw two people getting off a private vehicle and enter the house holding Joskes Brew alcohol.

A commotion was later heard from the house and Police were called and informed that some youths were drinking alcohol and causing trouble within the settlement.

Magistrate George gave them an earful saying she was disappointed that people continued to flout directives given for COVID-19 and were wasting taxpayers money when they appeared in Court.

“These directives are to keep everyone safe,” she told the youths.

“This virus is not a joke, it’s reality. People are dying everyday by the thousands,” Magistrate George told the accused persons.

She said directives given by the Government were falling on deaf ears and she was appalled to learn that more than 1000 arrests were made in relation to curfew and social gathering breaches.

“When are we going to start listening to the authorities?

“You’re all adults, it’s quite disappointing. Some of you are fathers and mothers and those are the kinds of examples you’re giving to your children!”

Mitigation

In mitigation, Luvuniwasa said he is a farmer in Moala, Lau, and came to Suva with his wife so that she can give birth at the hospital here.

Tukana told the Court that he is an Electrical Engineering student at the Fiji National University.

Bolatagici sought forgiveness from the Court while Petero revealed that he plants cassava in Veisari.

Kotobalavu told Magistrate George that he is a construction worker in Labasa and earns $150 a week.

All five accused’s showed their willingness to pay a fine and were given three months to pay $500 each.

When questioned they said they knew that they were not supposed to have social gatherings.

They will be jailed for 50 days if they fail to pay their fine by July 21.

Magistrate George told them that if the Court showed them leniency people will never learn.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper