Man jailed six years for sex offense

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

1795 Hits

Court House Mulinuu

Court House Mulinuu (Photo: File)

A 42-year-old man accused of sexual violation and indecent assault in relation to a 15-year-old girl has been jailed for six years.

The decision was handed down by Supreme Court Justice Vui Clarence Nelson.

The man was facing charges of attempted sexual violation and indecent assault while the victim’s mother was charged as a party to the offense. 

However after the hearing, Justice Vui amended the charge against the mother to a lesser offense of aiding and abetting. 

The mother was sentenced to two years imprisonment.

A suppression order has been in place since the beginning of the hearing to protect the identity of the victim. 

 

HEARING 

During the hearing, the victim testified she was sleeping with her younger siblings when her mother woke her up, telling her to go and sit next to a man on a chair.

The mother proceeded by telling her to move closer to him (male defendant) and she did. Then the mother instructed her to go with the man to the back kitchen and she did. 

According to the victim, she went to the kitchen, while her mother continued conversing with the man and after a while he came to where she was and kissed her.

At the time, she called out to her mother asking why she was letting this happen. “I can’t believe that you don't love me,” she said to her mother. The Court heard from the victim’s testimony the mother was sitting on a chair playing with her phone. 

The Court also heard from the 43-year-old defendant, on the night in question he went to the victim’s residence to inform his “girlfriend’s mother” that they were dating. He felt, it’s been a while since he was dating the 15-year-old (at the time) and that it was time to meet her family. 

He said that not many people knew of their secret relationship as “girlfriend and boyfriend” and when he met the mother, she accepted him and welcomed him in the home. 

 

FINAL SUBMISSIONS 

Age difference was among the issues the Supreme Court Justice, pointed out to defense counsel, Diana Roma to address during her final submissions. At the time of the submission, defense counsel for the man was not present at the hearing and submitted a note to the court informing the reasons behind his absence.

Justice Vui pointed out to Roma the “issue of the age difference between the defendant and the young girl as the evidence is quite clear that he’s in his 40’s ad she was at the time only 15. 

Can a certain inference be drawn that what she (mother) did was more than inappropriate, it was ill advised, foolish, to allow a man almost 30 years older than her young daughter access to her daughter.”  

Roma pointed out, the mother’s written statement to the police indicated that she did tell the defendant to wait until her daughter was 21-years-old. However Justice Vui pointed out that despite that, while she advised the man to wait until her daughter becomes of age, yet her next action was to leave them alone as stated in her witness statement that she walked off leaving them to talk. 

Justice Vui also asked the prosecutor to elaborate on the element of the “party” charge to the  attempted sexual violation against the mother. He asked as to what evidence that indicates the mother was aware of what the defendant was trying to do. 

Ms. Sio explained they are relying on the victim’s testimony, that it was the mother who played the role of encouraging and instructing the victim to sit aside the defendant and then further instructed her to go to the kitchen.

She noted the defendant went to the kitchen where the victim was and his action where he tried to take off her clothes and the victim called out to her mother who was in sight. 

She said the victim’s other sister also testified that the mother was there when the incident occurs. However Vui put it to the prosecutor to pin point as to what evidence the mother knew the defendant was attempting to sexually violate her daughter.

He also pointed out the Evidence Act that allows for the Judge to amend the charge in accordance with the evidence presented before the court.

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