A disgraceful father

By Pai Mulitalo Ale ,

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The Supreme Court has slammed the behavior of a 40-year-old father who impregnated his 13-year-old stepdaughter. 

In sentencing the man for two years and six months, Justice Lesatele Rapi Vaai said his behavior is shameful and he deserves a custodial sentence to teach him a lesson.

What’s more, Justice Lesatele said the punishment should send out a warning to other men that such disgraceful behavior is not accepted and the Court will not tolerate anyone who is convicted for the offense.

The name of the man and any detail that could identify him have been suppressed to protect the identity of the victim.

But the mother of the 13-year-old girl is married to the defendant. 

The prosecution lawyer was Fuifui Ioane of the National Prosecution Office while the defendant did not have a lawyer. The man faced 36 charges of having sex with a minor and two counts of indecent assault.  Upon entering his guilty plea, the Prosecution withdrew 18 counts of sexual connection, and proceeded with the remaining charges.

According to a pre-sentence report, the defendant told the Probation Officer that it was in 2013 when he noticed that the victim was flirting with him. He said this reached a stage where she told him she loved him.

The man admitted having sex with the girl multiple times until she became pregnant. During the hearing, it was revealed that the sexual relationship occurred in the evenings and nights at the house when the victim’s mother was absent for other commitments.

 Justice Lesatele did not mince words in addressing the defendant.

He said a custodial penalty was appropriate for this kind of offence to send a message that the Courts of Samoa does not accept such behaviour.

Justice Lesatale also wanted to warn the wider community that child abuse is not accepted and that the laws of Samoa exist to protect young girls.  

He expressed concerns about the mental and physical trauma the girl would have had to go through during the ordeal, especially when she was taken advantage of by a person who was supposed to look after her.

In doing what he did, the Court ruled that the man betrayed the trust of the young girl in him as a father figure. Justice Lesatele took five years as a starting point for the sentence.

The Court then deducted 18 months for his early guilty plea, the decision by the village council to punish him and the fact that he has expressed remorse and regret about what he had done.

In the end, the defendant was convicted and sentenced to 2 years and six months for each charge of sexual connection and six months for indecent assault but to be served concurrently.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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