More Top Stories

Rugby Union

Bigger and busier 2023: PM

31 December 2022

Rugby league

Moana target 2025 World Cup

11 November 2022

Teenager spared jail on raft of charges

Thursday 24 August 2023 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Court, Crime, National


Teenager spared jail on raft of charges

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.

Kauvai appeared 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.