Auckland Judge Adds Six Months to Convict’s Sentence Over Explosives Discovery

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The district court of Auckland, presided over by Judge Kevin Phillips, has commanded an extension of six months to the pre-existing prison sentence of one Frank Fualema, in relation to the discovery of explosives in his residence.

Fualema, a deportee subject to section 501 of the Australian Migration Act, had already been serving time for an unrelated offence prior to this development. Fualema, being the resident of Papakura, had been dealt a year-and-a-half imprisonment sentence earlier in May. This was due to his involvement in an unprovoked assault on an unsuspecting couple in Auckland’s bustling city centre.

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In the initial hearing, the discussion brought up by Judge John McDonald did feature pending charges associated with two sticks of gelignite along with a detonation device. These items were discovered during a police search of Fualema’s dwelling. However, as the charge was yet to be decided, it was not a part of the consideration in the original sentencing.

Following a month after the initial court proceedings, Fualema declared himself guilty for charges related to the aforementioned explosives. The task on Judge Phillips’s table today was to ascertain the extent to which this secondary charge would have influenced the earlier sentence, had it been concluded at the time.

Judge Phillips held his judgement at a two-year sentence, which was six months more than the original ruling. Hence, in the latest hearing in Auckland District Court, Judge Phillips ruled that an additional six-months imprisonment is to be served consecutively with the ongoing sentence. He commented on the incident, “You did not give an explanation as to why you had them,” emphasizing the instability and potential danger of the explosives which are primarily intended for blasting in mining operations.

Through his layer, Fualema confessed that the purchase of the explosives, costing a hefty $5000, was a spur-of-the-moment decision with no intended malice nor premeditation. Having understood the peril his reckless act put him and his neighbours in, he expressed remorse and accepted his mistake.

With his current sentence acting as a factor, if it were not in place, Fualema would have been handed a one-year standalone sentence. An attempt for home detention during his first sentencing in May, as a consequence of his assault near Auckland’s Britomart train station in August 2022, did not find favour.

In the earlier court case, Judge McDonald found no justification provided by Fualema for the ruthless assault. He noted, Fualema’s claim of a lack of memory of the incident as a result of intense intoxication at that time.

Fualema’s previous life in Australia, where he moved in his younger years, painted a different picture. Once a prospective rugby league player, his recurrent offences and his eventual expulsion from the country marked a piteous fall from grace. His earlier sentence in December 2020 at the Brisbane District Court relates to his violent attacks on 10 distinct individuals in a single night, six months prior to his sentencing. His offences were described as “gratuitous, unprovoked violence, committed against members of the community in public places.”

With every passing destructive act, Fualema’s threat level to the public escalated, indicating a high risk of repeating his actions and causing harm to others. His criminal past, contrasted with his previous status as a rugby player at Brisbane-area rugby league clubs, the Easts Tigers and Bulimba Valleys Bulldogs revealed a broader picture of a man caught in a destructive spiral.