Thirty-year-old, Teremoana Saddler was yesterday sentenced to five years and three months’ imprisonment for 19 counts of burglary.
Saddler committed these offences from September 19 to October 6 last year where he stole around $18,800 in total.
The probation report showed he wanted to go back to jail so he could have a place to sleep and receive three meals a day and the only means to do so, was by reoffending.
Local counsellor Rebeka Buchanan said Saddler may be feeling unloved and uncared for, and having being in prison before, he sees it as a place where he could do more constructive work with the prison activities then being out in public.
Buchanan, who is the coordinator of Punanga Tauturu Inc., said this was now a normal pattern for Saddler and he sees that there is nothing wrong with it.
However, she said she believed this was wrong.
Saddler, who started offending in 2008, needed to be shown survival tools and to be given hope from the beginning, Buchanan said.
But now in prison, Saddler sees he can follow the prison rules and structure and also earn some money from the prison work programme.
On September 19, Saddler broke into Cook Islands Building Supplies. He also smashed the door of the Motor Centre and took $17,260 from the safe box.
On September 26, seven burglaries were committed, on October 4 five burglaries were committed and among these was the Ministry of Justice building and other government buildings in the vicinity.
Saddler was identified through CCTV footage.
Crown Law’s Metua Okotai in her submissions looked back at Saddler’s past 14 burglary convictions and 22 contempt of court convictions and said this accounted for a lengthy sentencing and it reflected his high risk of reoffending.
Okotai said Saddler’s offences were premeditated as he chose businesses where he could carry out multiple burglaries in a few hours.
And he did this while he was on bail, showing his complete disregard for the law, she said.
Defence counsel Norman George said Saddler’s previous convictions indicated that he was out of control and not disciplined.
George revealed that Saddler’s adopted mother had left him and went to New Zealand when he was young.
This made him into “a village kid” and not many members of his family wanted to do anything with him.
“He feels unwanted and unloved by family. He was suicidal, wanting to take his own life,” George said.
He said Saddler was a man who caught the attention of a former prison officer who wanted to help him so he would be directed to do the right things.
Chief Justice Sir Hugh Williams QC, who presided over the matter from New Zealand through video conferencing, said Saddler had a difficult childhood - his family had cut him off.
“You are a recidivist burglar and a pest to the community,” Justice Williams said.
He said Saddler was a threat to those who worked hard to build their businesses.
Justice Williams said it was clear that all the offending occurred while Saddler was living in the old Sheraton premises and was homeless.
Cook Islands Security managing director Chris Denny said it was good to have repeat offenders locked up especially during the tough times ahead.
It does relieve a lot of stress on these individuals to have a home and be fed and not forced to commit these crimes and traumatise families in their homes, Denny said.
Saddler will also serve a 12-month disqualification from obtaining a driver’s licence or driving in the Cook Islands upon his release, for the charge of refusing to undergo a blood test.
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