A 52-year-old man has been jailed for three years and two months on eight counts of sexual connection against a 14-year-old girl.
Lupematasila Sila Tai, is a single male from one of the villages in the district of Aiga o le Tai.
The decision was handed down by Supreme Court Justice, Mata Keli Tuatagaloa.
Prosecution was Lucymarie Sio while Leali’ifano Dr. Iopu Tanielu represented the defendant.
The Court issued a suppression order against the victim but it did not extend that to the defendant.
According to reports, the victim has a four months old baby as the result of the crime committed by Lupematasila.
According to the Police summary of facts that was read in open Court, the defendant is a good friend of the victim’s father. They are very close because they always go fishing together.
On the first incident, it was on 30 April, 2017, on a Sunday around midday, the victim’s family went to sleep after to’ona’i and the victim was the only one awake at the time.
The victim went to the back (umukuka) to get a plate and saw the defendant behind the coconut trees waving at her to come.
The victim went to the defendant and that’s when he asked her to have sexual intercourse with him. He was intoxicated when he approached the victim.
The victim agreed and they had consensual sexual intercourse and afterwards the defendant left for his home.
The second incident occurred on 7 May, 2017, on a Sunday afternoon when the victim’s family went to sleep after their to’ona’i.
She was the only one awake at the time and was at the back of the kitchen (umukuka) washing the dishes. The defendant threw a stone on the roof of the house to get the victim’s attention.
The victim looked up and saw the defendant standing from behind the coconut trees and calling her. The victim went to the defendant and he gave her $10 and told her to have sex with him where she agreed.
The victim kept the $10 and they had consensual sexual intercourse.
The third incident occurred on 14 May, 2017 on a Sunday afternoon, the victim, after to’ona’i, went to the kitchen to wash the dishes.
The defendant, at the time, was also under the coconut trees behind the victim’s kitchen waiting for the victim to come.
He called out to her as soon as he saw her, and she went to the defendant and they had consensual sexual intercourse.
The fourth incident occurred on 21 May, 2017 on a Sunday afternoon.
The victim was sitting outside of their shower waiting for the defendant to call her.
She saw him behind the pig sty calling out to her so she went to him and they had consensual sexual intercourse.
The fifth incident occurred on 28 May, 2017 on a Sunday afternoon again when the victim’s family was all asleep after to’ona’i.
She walked to the back to wash the dishes and the defendant threw stones on the kitchen roof to get the victim’s attention.
He called out to her to come and the victim went to him and they had consensual sexual intercourse.
The sixth incident occurred on 1 June, 2017 during the Independence Day, when the victim’s father and the defendant arrived home from fishing.
They arrived home intoxicated.
The defendant then went to his home to drop off his shopping and returned to the victim’s home.
He then went to the back of the pig sty and waited for the victim there until he saw her and he called out to her.
The victim went to the defendant and they had sexual intercourse.
The seventh incident occurred on 2 June, 2017 around 7am when the victim went to prepare food with her younger siblings.
While she was sitting at the kitchen, the defendant approached her and asked her to go with him to have sex.
She agreed and followed him to the coconut trees where they had sex.
The last incident was on 4 June, 2017 on a Sunday afternoon when the victim’s family was all asleep after a family to’ona’i.
She was sitting at the back of the kitchen when the defendant called out from the back of the pig sty.
She went to the defendant and they had sex.
According to reports, the matter came to light when the victim fell pregnant.
She was asked by her grandmother of whom the father of the baby was and that’s when she told her grandmother that she is pregnant with the defendant’s baby.
The matter was then reported to the Police whereby the defendant was apprehended and cautioned accordingly.
The defendant is charged with eight counts of sexual connection with a young person under 16 years old which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
On 1 March, 2018 on the day of hearing, the defendant, through counsel, vacated his not guilty pleas and substituted it with a guilty plea to all eight charges against him.
Inside the Courtroom, Justice Mata asked the defendant if there were any parts of the Police summary of facts that he disagreed on.
He replied no.
However, he also asked the Court for the opportunity to say something, which Justice Mata granted.
“On the day of the incident, the father of the victim and I were in Apia selling fish, we were drinking there and then we came home and continued drinking at his home,” Lupematasila told the Court.
“The victim’s father fell asleep and then I was ready to go home, until the victim called on me, I ask her what she wants and she asked me for $10 and in return we can go have sex.
“I was shocked when I heard this, but we went to the back of the coconut trees and we had sexual intercourse there.
“It was there as well that I found out that the victim had done this so many times with some other men as well because she told me everything.
“I asked her about her age and she told me she’s 19 years old. She kept coming to my house wanting to have a family with me, but I told her to give me some time.
“Your honour, that’s the reason why I did what I did.”
But Justice Mata did not have any of it.
She told the defendant that being drunk is not an excuse to what he did.
“Secondly, the victim was 14 years old, and under the law, this is not allowed even if the victim agrees to it, you cannot have sexual intercourse with a young girl.
“Thirdly, you are a friend of the victim’s father and yet you used that relationship to get to the victim.
“You are 52 years old and the victim is 14, there is an age gap of 38 years and you should know better.
“The maximum penalty for this kind of crime is 10 years imprisonment for one charge and yet you are facing eight charges of sexual connection.
“So if the Court sentences you to 10 years imprisonment term for one charge, so you do the math that means you would spend your life there and who knows maybe your life will end inside jail if that is the case.
“I know the name Lupematasila is a matai title, so if the young girls of Samoa are not safe under the care of the villages and the matai, then who will they turn to?
“So this Court decision of imprisonment term is appropriate and also to send out a strong message to those men of your age who are thinking of committing such crime.
“Starting point for imprisonment term for your sentencing is five years. I will deduct six months for your previous good character, three months for the village decision to ban you from the village and 25 percent for your guilty plea.
“Lupematasila you have been convicted and sentenced to three years and two months, any time you were held in custody will be deducted from the three years.”