Court reserves decision on father, daughter incest case

By Deidre Tautua – Fanene ,

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The Supreme Court has dismissed criminal charges of theft and obtaining by deception filed by the Police against lawyer, Pa’u Tafaogalupe Mulitalo.

The Supreme Court has dismissed criminal charges of theft and obtaining by deception filed by the Police against lawyer, Pa’u Tafaogalupe Mulitalo.

A father and daughter who have pleaded guilty to one charge of incest will be sentenced on Tuesday 17 April 2018.

The matter was called on Wednesday before Supreme Court Justice, Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke, for sentencing.

However, after hearing submissions from the prosecutor, Lupematasila Iliganoa Atoa, Diana Roma, who is representing the father, and Maiava Visekota Peteru, who is representing the daughter, Justice Leiataualesa reserved his decision.

Justice Leiataualesa also issued a suppression order on both defendants   given their relationship including their village name.

According to the Police summary of, the first defendant is the biological father of the second defendant.  

“The first defendant is a 58-year-old male, a father of seven and his wife has passed away,” said the registrar.

“The second defendant is 35 years old; she has three children but not married.

“Sometime during the first incident, the first defendant knew very well that the second defendant is his biological daughter and as for the second defendant, she also knew very well that the first defendant is her biological father.

“Sometime in between 31 December, 2016 and 1 January, 2018, around 11pm in one of the villages in Savaii, the first and second defendants were sleeping together at their house using one pillow and one sheet.

“Sometime on that night, a young man (taule’ale’a) from the village went to both defendant’s house and saw this, and this time all the tarpaulins of the house were down and this young man saw both defendants sharing one pillow and one sheet.

“After some days have passed, the father and the daughter were having sexual intercourse knowingly of their relationship.

“During this time, a young man of the village went to the house of both defendants and caught them and that’s when this young man took photos of both defendants.”

According to the Police reports, the matter was brought to light when the young man, who took the photos, showed the pictures to some of the village people and this matter was then reported to the Police in Apia.

They both pleaded guilty to one charge of incest and the maximum penalty is 20 years imprisonment. 

During Lupematasila’s submission, she put it to the Court a starting point of two years imprisonment.

In reading out the aggravating features of the incident, she considered the breach of trust between the father and the daughter.

“It is clear in the reports that the first defendant is the biological father of the second defendant,” she told the Court.

“He is the head of the family and it is his duty and responsibility to protect his family because this is his duty as a father, but this is not the case.

“His wife passed and that’s when these incidents started to occur.

“He should’ve protected his daughter but rather he did not.

“The second aggravating feature is the family relationship between both defendants.

“Thirdly it is the pre-meditation of the incident.

“They knew very well their relationship and yet they still went ahead and committed such crime.

“And the other point is that this does not align with our culture and the fa’asamoa. They have broken the vatapuia between a father and daughter.   

“Their action is not acceptable in the Samoan culture and especially with Christianity.”

In Ms. Roma’s submission, she asked for the Court’s leniency upon her client.

One of the facts is that her client is a first offender.

“He was an abiding law citizen all this time until this one incident,” Ms. Roma told the Court.

“The second one is his early guilty plea, which shows his remorseful and not only that, an ifoga was made to the village where they both had to pay a fine of $2,000 and two large fine mats.

“The village had accepted their ifoga but made an order to ban them from the village.

“According to my client, he and his daughter live together in one house and they all sleep together.

“And sometimes when he wakes up to go to the bathroom, he sees his daughter sleeping naked and this arouses sexual feelings towards her and he couldn’t stop these feelings.

“But he also accepts this should not be an excuse for his action but we respectfully ask the Court that this should be taken as an explanation of why he acted this way. 

“So we respectfully seek leniency when sentencing my client.”

During Maiava’s submission, she asked for a non-custodial sentence for her client.

“According to my client, the reason she did what she did is because her father begged her so many times,” Maiava told the Court.

“The first defendant kept asking her and asking her and so she couldn’t reject it and so it happened.

“However, she wants to forget about what happened and move forward in looking after her children who are between the ages of three and 10.

“She also said despite the Court’s decision, she is already facing a long term sentence of being shameful and being teased at by people and most especially her children.

“She said this is something that she has to live with for the rest of her life.

“I also want to ask the Court for a non-custodial sentence because there is no one to look after her children and as a mother, her children are very young and they need her because she does not have a husband to help her look after them.

“So your honour, I hope you will take these points into consideration while sentencing my client.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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