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Ignorance of the law no excuse, says JP

Friday January 26, 2018 Written by Published in Crime

Ngametua Ua pleaded guilty to selling liquor without a licence when he appeared before JP Georgina Williams in the Avarua High Court on Thursday.


Defence lawyer Mark Short said there were two factors worth pointing out in the case. The first was that it was a rare case and the court had not really seen anything similar. The second was that the defendant was an elderly man who had not realised there was any criteria for selling alcohol.

Ua had been making home brew for years without any problems. He had applied to the police for diversion, but that can only be granted to someone who has not had a previous offence. JP Williams asked if his earlier offence was alcohol-related and Short said it was not. Ua had entered a plea of guilty and was very remorseful.

“The reality is he just did not know”, says Short.

“I believe if he had known, he would not have committed this offence and he is sorry and won’t be doing it again.”

He asked for a discharge without conviction as Ua was remorseful and had apologised for his actions. He had been selling only to friends, family and pensioners like himself.

JP Williams said ignorance of the law was no excuse.

Ua will appear for sentencing in six months. In the meantime, he was charged $50 court costs.

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