Assessors rule in rape hearing of 10-year-old

By Deidre Tautua-Fanene ,

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SUPREME COURT: Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala–Warren presided in the hearing.

SUPREME COURT: Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala–Warren presided in the hearing. (Photo: Samoa Observer / File)

A man who lied, abducted and raped a 10-year-old girl in a banana patch has been found guilty by the Supreme Court.

Isaia Liuafi, of Leauva’a and Talimatau, had rejected four charges including one count of rape and three counts of sexual connection with a girl under the age of 12. 

 But a panel of five assessors disagree.  

They have found the defendant guilty of all charges. The verdict followed a five-day before Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala – Warren.

Prosecuting the matter was LucyMaria Sio of the Attorney General’s office while defense counsel was Alex Su’a. The incident occurred on 8th May 2014 when the victim was 10 and the defendant was 20.

“School finished at around 2pm so me and two of my friends came and sat at the front of the chapel which is just before the school on the same compound,” the young girl told the Court. “My friends then left and I then walked to the shop next to the school compound. When I walked out of the shop, this guy approached me and told me that my mother was waiting for me and that he was sent to pick me up.”

The girl said the man held her hand and walked her along the main road.

“I can’t remember how far we walked but when we got to one of the roads going to the back, we turned in that road and we kept walking until we got to an abandoned house."

“He told me to go inside the house but I refused. He then held my hand and we turned around and walked back until we got to a banana patch (togafa’i)."

“He told me to go inside the banana patch but I told him no. He held my hand and took me inside the banana patch.”

There, she told the Court the defendant allegedly sexually violated her before he proceeded to rape her.

She said she was in a lot of pain. The alleged victim said when the defendant was done; he put on his clothes and he just stood there.

He wouldn’t leave. Afraid, the girl decided to give him $5 and a packet of biscuits in a bid to make him leave.

Isaia strongly denied the allegations. He said he wasn’t anywhere near the girl that day.

“I didn’t go anywhere on that day and on the next day which is Friday 9th May 2014, I got ready and came to the court to serve my hours when I was done I went straight home and fell asleep because I was tired.”

Ioane said on 9 May, he was woken up by a sound of a car and he saw four police officers talking to his father.

“When they (police officers) saw me one of the officers told me that they came to pick me up because they need me to make a statement with regards to a case,” said Mr. Liufisa.

“At the time I was a blue jean short but with no shirt so I went and got my shirt and then we left."

“When the vehicle passed my house one of the police officers put handcuffs on me and so I asked them why I need to wear handcuffs when I’m only going to make a statement."

“When the vehicle got to Lotopa one of the officers by the name of Seve told me to show them the way where the incident occurred I told them I don’t know."

“The police vehicle turned inside this other road going to the back at Lotopa and Seve told me to show them where the incident occurred I told them I don’t know because it wasn’t me and I don’t know what they are talking about.”

Ioane told the Court when the vehicle left this place at Lotopa the police officer allegedly assaulted him inside the vehicle.

“One of the police officers punched me on the chest on our way to the police station,” he said. “I was still handcuffed at that time so we went inside the police station and they made me sit on the floor."

“After sometime Seve came up to me and told me that I should know by then the reason why I was there but I told them I don’t know anything."

“He (Seve) then told me that the girl had already identified her attacker and that it was me but I told them I don’t know any girl and that I didn’t do anything.”

Ioane also told the Court that because of the way he was being treated by the Police officers, he pleaded guilty to raping the young girl.

During cross-examination, Ms. Sio put it to the defendant that the reason why he pleaded guilty was because it was him.

“The victim did not hesitate in identifying you when you were lining up and she pointed at you,” said Ms. Sio. “You stopped the bus at the four corners at Lepea and you walked from there until you saw the young girl."

“You took the victim in the banana patch and you raped her."

“If what you said is true that you didn’t go anywhere on the afternoon of 8th of May, 2014 and that your father was at home then why didn’t your father testify and confirm that you were at home?"

“This shows that you weren’t at home because your father did not confirm nor testify that you were at home.”

 

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