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Court convicts and deports Vietnamese man for possession of marijuana

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – 13 OCTOBER 2022: 28 year old Vietnamese man, Vo Nanh Ha was ordered by the Supreme Court this afternoon to be deported from Samoa and pay $300 talā in court costs.

Justice Leiataualesā Daryl Clarke sentenced the man who was arrested and placed under police custody since 03 September for the possession of 6.16 grams of marijuana.

Vo Nanh Ha arrived in Apia from American Samoa 01 September and was booked to leave Samoa 03 September 2022 for Fiji to catch a flight to Vietnam. When his bags went through the Customs X-ray screening system at Faleolo International Airport, two coffee jars with 6.16 grams of marijuana were found inside his bag.

He was arrested and placed under police custody and was only released out on bail last week to await his sentence today.

Justice Clarke agreed with prosecution that there was no need for a custodian sentence as the four weeks he was in police custody since his arrest on 3 September was penalty enough but he has to be deported.

His lawyer Quentin Sauaga asked for a discharge without conviction sentence on the basis that Ha is a university graduate and has no previous conviction.

Justice Clarke considered 4 previous cases cited by prosecution regarding foreigners charged with narcotic offences locally, and although there was no evidence of a custodian sentences, the Court took into account the quantity of narcotics found on the defendants.

In passing sentence, Justice Clarke took into account as mitigating factor for the defendant, his early guilty plea to the charge, a first offender then convicted him.