A male of 18 years of age was lucky to be given another chance after he was convicted with one count of sexual conduct with a young person.
The crime carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
The accused appeared for sentencing before Justice Lesatele Rapi Va’ai, Leone Su’a appeared on behalf of the National Prosecution Office and Leuluaialii Tasi Malifa represented the accused.
His name has been withheld to protect the identity of his victim, who lives in the same village.
The accused lives with his grandparents and works as a taxi driver to earn a living for his family.
During sentencing last Friday, the prosecution recommended a 12 month custodial sentence for the accused, because of the sexual violation of a minor.
Not only that but it was argued that the maximum penalty shows the seriousness of the offence and there should be a custodial penalty.
However, defense counsel Leuluailaii asked the court for a custodial penalty.
According to Leuluaialii’s, he said that his client admitted to what he did however he was not aware of the victim’s age.
“It was after he gave his statement to police and was about to leave, he was stopped and told that he would be charged with sexual conduct with a young person,” said Leuluaialii.
The court took into consideration both counsels’ recommendations; however Justice Lesatele said the Summary of Facts was not disputed by the defendant.
That the victim was at a young age, however he wanted what had happened and she had consented.
According to the pre-sentence report by the Probation Office, it highlighted the defendant’s good character.
Justice Lesatele considered the Probation Office’s recommendation that the accused was suitable for probation.
The accused was therefore sentenced to 12 months probation.
He was told that he should attend any rehabilitation programme conducted by the Probation Service.
He was also ordered to pay a fine of $400 to the Probation Office.