And so, this whole bizarre saga has come to an end: former Australian Idol contestant Pauline Curuenavuli – otherwise known as Paulini – has been slapped with a six-month suspended sentence for bribing a government employee.
She pleaded guilty to “corruptly giving a benefit from an agent” in September this year, after paying a Roads and Maritime Services employee $850 in exchange for an unrestricted NSW driver’s licence.
Paulini lost her learner’s permit in March 2016, after she was caught driving unaccompanied and without her L plates displayed – a big no no, as far as the police are concerned. (And court documents revealed that she’d clocked up a whopping 11 driving offences since first obtaining her permit in 2002.)
Some time after losing her permit, she’d contacted a corrupt RMS employee in order to obtain a C class unrestricted license. Court documents show the employee, Faletausala Feesili Viafale, told her to go to the Mount Druitt RMS office and wait at counter 10. Viafale added an American driver’s license to Paulini’s records, and issued the unrestricted license.
She was ordered in September to complete a traffic offender program and drive 120 hours under supervision to meet the requirements of her learner’s license before her sentencing.
However, her lawyer Lisa-Claire Hutchinson, told the court that while she’d completed the program, she’d only clocked up some 15 driving hours.
In sentencing, the magistrate said that while Paulini had shown a level of self-rehabilitation, the fact that she’d made the initial contact with the corrupt RMS employee to try and get a licence was worrying.
She’s on good behaviour until June 14, 2018.