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Girl,15, boy,17, get suspended sentence after Nuku‘alofa store robbery, assault  

Two teenagers have avoided going to jail after their12-month sentence was fully suspended.

Miss June Folau, 15, and Sione Tu’ifua, 17, pleaded guilty to one count of robbery contrary to section 154 (1 ) Criminal Offences Act the maximum sentence for which is 10 years imprisonment.

Court heard Folau and Sione Tu’ifua used to work at a Chinese owned shop in Nuku’alofa’s Pahu town. On the day in question the till was manned by Mr. Konyan Lin.

They had started their work there on September 12, 2022 and on the 14 Tu’ifua turned up late for his shift and was dismissed. He stayed in the area of the shop and mid-morning, he went back into the shop where Mr. Lin was sitting on the shop counter.

He punched Lin to the head and held him around the throat to overpower him while shouting to Miss Folau to grab the money before they took off with TOP$2,000.

They both went to an aunt’s home in Ngele’ia before the police later found Folau. Tu’ifua handed himself in the following day.

The pre-sentence report showed Tu’ifua, who is 18 this year, was of hitherto good character.

‘This is described as being totally out of character. He felt wronged by his summary dismissal for lateness and feelings of regret and resentment spun out of control within him. He is genuinely remorseful’.

Folau, who is 16 this year and at the time of her sentencing acted spontaneously. She was remorseful and noted to be a good person in general. She tried to have the money restored to the victim by Mr. Tu’ifua.

‘Both are of low risk of re-offending’, a court document said.

In sentencing the duo, Judge Cooper said: ‘For their early guilty pleas, I take off 30%. That gives 12-month sentence.

‘This I fully suspend for 12 months on conditions that:

‘Neither commit an offence punishable by imprisonment during that time, and . Abide by the directions of their probation officer.

I must impose a community punishment order to mark a punitive element to this sentence so set each to complete 40 hours’ community punishment order’.