A 26-year-old man has been jailed for six months after he was found guilty of one count of sexual connection with a girl under 16 years of age.
He will also undergo supervised counselling for six months with a probation officer.
Supreme Court Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala Warren handed down her decision on Wednesday afternoon, and also issued a suppression order for the victim.
According to the police summary of facts read by the registrar, the victim is 12-years-old and lives overseas and was sexually assaulted on June 1, 2018 in a shop’s shower-room.
“It was in the shower that you started kissing the victim and you sexually harassed her while you were in the shower, the victim heard people outside and that’s when she ran out of the shop.”
The court heard that the defendant has two previous convictions in 2010 and 2012 and was known to the victim’s mother. A reconciliation has taken place between the families of the defendant and the victim.
Justice Tafaoimalo took into account the age gap between the victim and the defendant as an aggravating factor.
“What is aggravating about the offending is the age of the victim she is 12 years old and the accused knew this being familiar with the family through his work. He is 14 years older than the victim and he took advantage of this.
“The law is there to protect young girls from mature men taking advantage of them. It is also there to protect young girls from taking rash decisions and from getting into trouble.
“It’s also being said that the purpose of the law is to protect young girls from older men from their own perches until they are old enough to know better and make rational judgment for themselves. The sentences imposed by the court are usually custodial.”
She also said there is a need of deterrence in this case so that a message is sent to grown men that this type of behaviour is unacceptable.