A 28-year-old man of Sataoa and Safata has been convicted and sentenced to ten months supervision for one charge of sexual connection in relation to a girl under 16 years old.
Kiligi Faasavalu appeared before Supreme Court Justice, Mata Keli Tuatagaloa.
He faced five counts of sexual connection and one count of indecent assault against a girl under 16 years old.
The prosecution lawyer was Lucy Marie Sio of the Attorney General’s Office, while defense counsel was Sale’imoa Charlie Vaai.
In handing down her decision, Justice Tuatagaloa took into consideration that the sexual relationship was consensual.
“The incident did not occur at a bush or on the road, but rather it happened at home inside a faleo’o,” she said.
“You have also pleaded guilty that you had sexual connection with the victim under the age of 16, and you met the victim on the road in front of your house.
“According to your lawyer, you did not go looking for the victim and the Court accepts this.
“And the Court also understands that the victim agreed to all that had occurred between the two of you, even though it is against the law to act in a way against a girl under 16 years old.
“You are facing five counts of sexual connection with a victim under 16 years old and the maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment, and one count of indecent assault with the maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment.’
According to Justice Tuatagaloa, prosecution submitted two aggravating features.
“The first aggravating feature is the age gap. You are 28 years old while the victim is 14 therefore there is a 14 years age difference between you and the victim,” she said.
“The second aggravating feature is that prosecution said this incident is the reason the victim had to stay at the Samoa Victim Support Group. I do not accept that as an aggravating feature of this crime.
“You and your partner together, with your son, reside at Toamua however, you went to visit your family at Sataoa and that is where the matter occurred.”
She added girls are taken to the S.V.S.G. if there’s a matter that involves the girl’s family, so the support group provides refuge for them.
“But in this matter, that is not the case and that is why I do not accept that fact as an aggravating feature,” she said.
“Prosecution submitted a starting point of 18 months imprisonment term.
“You pleaded guilty to the charge against you and you are a first offender. I have with me letters of support from your Village Mayor, pastor, as well as your partner, explaining yourself as a good person.
“Your partner relies on you. She said you are her arms and legs in looking after your son and she relies on you for everything in your home.”
Justice Tuatagaloa said prosecution is only looking at one side of the crime and that is the age gap between the victim and the defendant.
“They are not looking deep enough into the matter,” she said.
“The case that the prosecution is referring to and basing their decision upon is way crucial than this matter. And that matter is an 18 month imprisonment term, but they are asking for two years as their starting point.
“To me two years is too much. As for me I will consider 18 months starting point if I had to give a custodial sentence and then I deduct all that is needed in terms of your previous good character and then it will come down to six-10 months imprisonment term.
“The Court looks deeply into the matter, especially when you are a first offender and I look at your family and how affected they are when the matter first surfaced, especially your partner and son who relies heavily on you, and the village penalty that you have already done as well as your family.
“Therefore I will not give you a custodial sentence.
“You have been convicted and therefore sentenced to 10 months supervision for one charge of sexual connection all to be served concurrently.
“And for the charge of indecent assault, you’re sentenced to six months supervision. If you reoffend within six months, you will then be sentenced on this charge.
“Stay away from girls 16 years old and under. This is your chance to make things right and help your family.”