THE man who broke and entered the Honiara City Council (HCC) head office in 2018 and stole a perfume has been sentenced to four years in prison, Tuesday.
Frank Firimolea was convicted after a trial on one count of office break-in.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Ricky Iomea said believes this sentence will again provide another opportunity for Firimolea to rehabilitate himself in a meaningful way so that when he served his term and is released from prison, he will be a better person and a law-abiding citizen.
“I hope that he will soon realize that there is nothing good about living a life where one finds himself often at odds with the law,” Iomea said in his sentencing remarks.
“All it does is that it brings consequences that one does not desire such as the deprivation of liberty and freedom of movement and separation for long periods of time from family members,” he added.
Firimolea had broken and entered the HCC’s Finance Office at the HCC main building on the night of 23 October 2018 and stole a perfume.
He had gained entry into the office from the toilet.
He then escaped but left a mess of louver glass, files, papers, and vouchers on the floor.
Iomea said it is clear from the facts of the case that the offending is characterized by first, pre-mediation or pre-planning.
“The accused had thought about breaking into the office and waited the night for the perfect moment on that night to execute the plan.
“He proceeded with the breaking when he believed that no one was in the office.
“He clearly executed the plan to break and enter in a skillful manner,” Iomea said.
Iomea said although Firimolea did not get what he had expected from that break-in, he got away with a perfume owned by a staff of the HCC finance department.
He added that files, papers, vouchers, and Louvre glass were left lying on the floor in a messed up manner resulting in unnecessary work for the staff to clean and tidy up in the office after the incident.
“This type of offence seemed to be prevalent.
“Based on the number of cases that are coming before this court and had been processed in through the court in the not so distant past, the court agrees with the prosecution that this type of offending continues to be on the rise especially in urban centres such as Honiara.
“This, in my view has necessitated the need to impose sentences that will have deterrent effects on offenders and would be offenders,” Iomea said.
Firimolea’s criminal records showed he is a repeated offender, having had a number of previous convictions.
The prosecution had asked the court to commit this matter to the High Court pursuant to section 208 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
This is due to Firimolea’s character as confirmed by the record of his previous conviction to be a repeated offender.
One of his previous conviction Iomea found was of similar nature to this present case was one of the burglaries that he was sentenced to two years in jail in 2006.
Iomea said the fact that Firimolea has re-offended on this instance after serving two years in jail is a testimony to the fact that the time spent in prison has not dissuaded him from further involvement in the crime.
“It appears that the rehabilitation program offered by the Correctional Service of Solomon Islands (CSSI) had not impacted his life in a meaningful way to be a better citizen.”
A starting point of three years imprisonment was imposed having excluded the aggravating factors and need for deterrence.
Iomea said he is of the view any additions to the starting point would not go beyond five years, the maximum penalty that this court has the power to impose for a single offence.
“Thus, the matter will have to be resolved in this court.”
Iomea then adds one year to the starting point after considering the aggravating factors and need for personal and general deterrence.
Having found no mitigating factors to mitigate the total sentence, he imposed the total sentence of four years imprisonment.
Rodney Manebosa of Public Solicitor’s Office represents Firimolea while Police Prosecutor John Palmer Teula appeared for the Crown.