Court defers jail sentence

By Deidre Tautua-Fanene ,

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The Supreme Court has deferred a jail sentence for an 18-year-old convicted of three charges in relation to sexual-related matter involving a 14-year-old girl.

The Court has also ordered name suppression for both the defendant and the victim, to protect the identity of the victim.

Fatumanavaupolu Ofisa Tagaloa of the Attorney General’s Office was the prosecutor.

The defendant was represented by Ms. Tuioti. Supreme Court Justice Lei’ataualesa Daryl Clarke presided.

The alleged incident occurred between the 1st and 31st of November 2016.

The defendant is charged with three charges of sexual connection with a girl under 16 years old. The defendant pleaded guilty to all three charges.

According to the probation report, the defendant and the victim were in a relationship.

As a result of the offence the victim became pregnant where the matter was then reported to the Police.

The defendant was 18 years old at the time of the offence.

In reading out the victim’s impact report, she stated that she was disappointed by the accused.

“I am very upset and disappointed by the accused,” stated the victim in her report.

“The truth is I am still mad and sad by this offending because it has caused me to get pregnant and now I am suffering from all the pain that he had caused me.”

In reading out the aggravating features, Justice Leiataualesa said the victim was vulnerable given her age. 

“The impact of your offending to the victim as she became pregnant and is no longer attending school,” said Justice Leiataualesa.

He also read out the mitigating factors taken to account for sentencing.

“The first is your young age,” he said.

“The second is your remorse, as it stated in your submission and pre-sentence report.”

“The third is your early guilty plea and also the reconciliation between the families of the victim and your family as well as the repetition that has been paid and the village penalty of $600 and boxes of tin fish.”

Prosecution and defense counsel considered a non-custodial sentence for the defendant.

“You told the probation officer that you did not know the law that prohibits sexual intercourse with a person under 16,” said Justice Leiataualesa.

“And there is no excuse for your action if what you say is true.”

“But the law prohibits what you did to the victim and imposes a serious imprisonment penalty for 10 years.”

“Having heard both the prosecution and counsel and the material they have brought of you I will impose a non-custodial sentence.”

“You should, however, be very clear that if you should reoffend by similar circumstances you should be prepared for imprisonment.”

“You are convicted of all three charges.

“So if you reoffend within the next 12 months and you come back into this court I will sentence you.”

“You are ordered to pay $200 court cost within seven days and default 14 days imprisonment.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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