Court substitute sentence to allow mother-to-be, to have her baby in NZ


BY Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA: MONDAY 20 MAY 2015: The Court today substituted a supervision sentence for a young mother-to-be, Andrea Ah Chong, to a monetary sentence, in place of returning to complete serving her sentence in Samoa.

The decision was delivered by Supreme Court Judge, Justice Mata Tuatagaloa, after she highlighted crucial issues to the probation officer who brought the application on behalf of Ms. Ah Chong.

Andrea was convicted in March this year of possession of marijuana after the police raided her place at Afiamalu in July last year.  She was placed under 12 months’ probation and 60 hours of community service.

She has served only a quarter of that sentence.

After perusing all aspects of the application, Justice Tuatagaloa then cancelled the remaining probation term and the community hours and substitute them with a monetary sentence.

For the remaining probation term, Andrea will have to pay $500.00 and $100.00 for the remaining community hours and 3 months’ imprisonment in default.

“In that way you can go have your baby and you don’t have to return after that,” said Justice Tuatagaloa.

Last week, Prosecution presented the application, but Justice Tuatagaloa told the officer to go and think about the application properly then present it again today.

The adjournment was due to the officers’ comment that they have agreed to the application, but when Justice Tuatagaloa asked for a guarantee that Andrea would return to finish her sentence, the officer said there was no guarantee.

Today, it was the Probation Office presented the same application with no guarantee, hence the Courts decision to substitute the supervision sentence with a monetary sentence.