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By Samantha Matai

SUVA, Fiji (FijiSUN, April 30) - A 35-year-old Fijian who robbed a tourist of her camera was sentenced to three years imprisonment yesterday.

Ratu Epeli Tukana of Navua, yesterday asked for a monetary fine but was told he did not deserve a fine because, Suva magistrate Viliame Nadakuitavuki said, he had "brought the image of this country to shame".

The complainant, Justine Roque of Germany, was walking along a beach at Pacific Harbor with her partner on April 26 this year, when the accused approached and threatened them with a cane knife.

He then grabbed the couple’s camera worth $250 and ran away.

Present in court was Ms Roque, who clearly recalled the incident and said, "I was so afraid and I saw the last moments of my life flash before me."

In mitigation, Tukana said he was the sole breadwinner in his family and that he was sorry for what he did.

"You should have put that mitigation in your mind before you committed the offence," magistrate Nadakuitavuki said.

Police prosecutor, Sergeant Livai Vakaloloma then informed the court that Tukana had 14 previous convictions of a similar nature.

"You don’t seem to learn from your mistakes. I must remind you that people like you bring a bad name to the country. What you did for was uncalled for and only for a camera worth $250," the resident magistrate said.

With this, the magistrate sentenced Tukana to three years behind bars.

May 3, 2003



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