David Kereka had pleaded guilty to one count of receiving, where he received six cartons of American Cola soft drinks worth at $540.
Principal Magistrate Augustine Aulanga when sentencing Kereka said the sentence he imposed will not only reflect his mitigating and personal factors, but must send a message to the public that it is important for people to stay out of the temptation of receiving stolen properties.
“Valuable properties that are offered as free handouts or are sold at unbelievable cheap prices or are deserted at any place following theft related activities must not be accepted or taken,” Mr Aulanga said.
“They must be properly queried, rejected and of course reported to the police authority.
“One should not succumb to the temptation of receiving them otherwise the consequences that will follow will be regrettable like the case of the accused herein.”
Mr Aulanga added that the Kereka had failed to wisely exercise his common sense thoughts on these and therefore, he had put himself in an unfortunate situation created by others.
“A situation where not only him will suffer but his family as well since they all depend on him for support and other necessities in life.
“The accused could have easily avoided this by simply ignoring those drinks but due to love of money, that got him into the evil of committing a crime,” Mr Aulanga added.
He further added that Keraka’s decision to deliberately take away the drinks even though he knew they were stolen is erroneous and illegal.
“He knew of that circumstance under which they were removed from the container yet he succumbed to the temptation of receiving them, Mr Aulanga said.
Mr Aulanga told Kereka that he had exposed himself to the risk of committing an offence by receiving those goods.
Kereka was told that as a married man with children should step back and consider whether what he was about to do would not risk him going to prison.
“That is the obvious mistake and the inappropriate decision he made the material time,” Mr Aulanga said.
Between 1st of April to the 19th of May 2016, some rogue robbers broke into a storage container stored along the Sun Valley road in East of Honiara.
The court had heard that a number of cartons of American Cola soft drinks were removed, loaded and transported in the vehicles of those robbers.
It was heard that Kereka somehow came and found six cartons of the soft drinks left behind at vicinity outside the container.
As a result, Kereka took them away knowing that they were stolen from the container.
Keraka’s lawyer had submitted that he has a canteen at Sun Valley area.
“I find his intention to receive and take those soft drinks away from the area they were deserted is very obvious and that is, to make profit.
“That is established by his admissions that he had sold them already and already used the proceeds derived from their sale.”
Kereka had already spent about four months in custody on remand and his lawyer had submitted the time he spent in custody is already a sufficient punishment for him and therefore should be released at the rising of the court.
The prosecution had asked for a sentence of nine months or so.
Mr Aulanga gave Kereka credit for his guilty plea, that he is a family man with two children and that his wife and children depend very much on him for their daily support.
Having considered all the mitigating factors, personal circumstances and aggravating factors, Mr Aulanga handed down an eight month imprisonment.
He then reduced one month to reflect the delay this case has taken.
The time Kereka spent in custody is taken into account.
Public Solicitor’s lawyer Lazarus Waroka represented Kereka while Police Prosecutor Abel Maelanga appeared for the Crown.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN