A woman who consistently flouted the law over a period of months has been spared jail on a raft of charges including burglary and obtaining credit by fraud.
Justice of the Peace
Tangi Taoro told Maiarii Kauvai she could have been easily imprisoned as Kauvai
was sentenced to two years of probation on eight charges of contempt, burglary,
obtaining credit fraudulently and unlawfully taking a motor vehicle.
Kauvai was also
ordered to complete the first six months of her sentence on community service,
pay a combined $1950 in reparations, and $200 court costs.
before JP Taoro, JP Vania Kenning and JP Paul Turepu at the Ministry of Justice
building in Avarua on Wednesday.
They adjourned and
deliberated for two hours before coming back for sentencing.
About a dozen people
were in the public seating area to support Kauvai.
JP Taoro told Kauvai
she could have easily been given a sentence on imprisonment.
“You need to be
accountable, take responsibility and choose your friends wisely.”
JP Taoro said it was
good to see a change in Kauvai’s attitude but it was hoped it was not an act.
“We warn you that if
you appear here in the near future, this court will not be too lenient on you.”
It would be hard work
in regaining the trust of family and Kauvai was told to quit her bad habits.
Kauvai had been in
custody since August 9 after Police had made the request as she struggled to
comply with bail conditions.
She had lived at four residences, all of whom did not want
to take her back, including an employer.
A former employer stood and addressed the court on
Wednesday, saying she was close to Kauvai’s family.
She had also lived with the former employer who said she
loved her, but that Kauvai continuously lied and stole.
She said Kauvai had told her on August 7 that her mother had
died of cancer in New Zealand, but that was a lie.
“She stole $1000 from me.”
“She took money and the police came and took her away; it
continuously happens, she comes with lies and tears.”
The woman said she didn’t want to report the theft to
police, she didn’t want to make it worse for Kauvai.
Kauvai shed tears at times during the proceedings.
Another woman, who was connected to her through the church,
said Kauvai had lived with a lot of different people over the years.
She needed psychological help.
“What she has been through will make her crazy; she needs
help for her mental well-being.”
Her defence lawyer Mark Short said he agreed with a
recommendation from Probation for 18 months of supervision.
Short said he would normally ask for a discharge without
conviction given her age, but she had constantly breached court orders.
A letter from her father suggested she had hung around other
young people who influenced her decision making.
Her father had confirmed she would be going to live with
him. Short read a letter of reference to the court, stating Kauvai had a
complicated upbringing which had contributed to her being in court.
In mitigation, she had entered early guilty pleas and it was
her first time in trouble.
“I believe she can change her life; she could become a
contributing member of the community,” he said.
The court heard the offending started in December 2022 when
she falsely obtained credit at a Rarotonga store.
She then unlawfully took a vehicle for her own use.
In April 2023 she broke into a rental property with intent
to commit a crime.
Between April 1, 2023 and August 6, 2023 she breached her
court conditions eight times.