A shocking incestuous relationship, which started with rape, and one where a father and daughter went on to have three children and a fourth who was aborted, has been described as a “horrendous tragic tale of sexual abuse”.
The description comes from Supreme Court Justice Vui Clarence Nelson who jailed the 63-year-old man for 21 years yesterday.
The man whose name has been suppressed to protect the victim and their children was convicted of one count of rape and 11 counts of incest.
More charges could have been filed, the Court heard.
“This incident is a horrendous tragic tale of sexual abuse of a young girl where the defendant seems to treat her as his play thing,” Justice Vui said.
He expressed disbelief at “how a father could do this to his own flesh and blood and then produce children from his own daughter”.
Justice Vui said this sort of behavior was culturally unacceptable and it was also against the law.
“It is also deeply disturbing that such abuse was tolerated apparently by the family of this young girl for so long,” Justice Vui said.
“They seem to be more concerned with their own reputation but not the welfare and wellbeing of the victim and the children that were born into this world as a result of this sickening behaviour."
“If incest is to be eradicated in our community, this culture of silence must end. If those who know of such ignorance do not speak, who then speaks for those too afraid, too ashamed and humiliated to speak for themselves?"
“It is often said that ‘in order for evil to flourish it is only sufficient that good men do nothing.’ This is a classic case of this kind of behavior being permitted to continue while the family stood by silently.”
The Prosecutor was Anne Matalasi of the Attorney General’s Office while Pa’u Tafaogalupe Mulitalo represented the defendant.
In issuing the suppression order, Justice Vui said this extended to all forms of social media including Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook.
According to the complainant’s statement to the police, the rape occurred between 31st May, 2009 and 1st January, 2010 while the complainant was just 17 years old.
“This is the first occasion in which the defendant and the complainant engaged in sexual intercourse,” said Justice Vui.
“On the night in question, the defendant came home drunk and calls her to come into his bed. As duty of all daughters she complied and sat on his bed.”
He raped her and she cried, saying it was painful.
“Despite this, the defendant continues with his action culminating into a full sexual intercourse over the protest of the young girl,” said Justice Vui.
“Afterwards he told her not to tell anyone about what had happened especially to her brothers. The victim at the time had no mother because the mother had passed away in 2006.
“From then on, it seems that this became a regular occurrence during 2009 and 2010. The defendant will come home drunk late at night and have sex with her. She told police that eventually she went past the point of resisting him.
“In 2009, she felt pregnant to the defendant and had their first child in 2010. When confronted by her brothers, she confessed to them that the defendant was the father of her baby.”
The defendant denied it when he was confronted.
According to the victim’s statement, a conflict occurred which led to one of the uncles banishing the defendant and his family from their family land. They then relocated to the village of the complainant’s natural mother.
“The defendant’s behavior did not cease and continued through 2010, 2011 and in 2012 the girl again became pregnant.
“The family again relocated to another village where the complainant had her second child in 2013. After this birth, the family then moved to Falelauniu to the land of an uncle who is a Pastor.
“The girl became pregnant for the third time and had her third child in 2015.
“The complainant told the police there was another child after that, a forth pregnancy but she aborted the baby because she wanted this to end.
“In 2016, the girl took a husband hoping that this will deter the defendant.
“She says this caused her father much displeasure and anger.”
But her father came to her again on the night of February 2017 where they had sexual intercourse for the last time while her husband was at work.
“This however, led to a family meeting but still the defendant was persistent in his denials.”
The matter was eventually reported to the Police.
According to the pre-sentence report, the defendant denied all the allegations against him.
“In that report he tries to blame his counsel for his guilty plea,” said Justice Vui.
“He said that he is innocent from all the allegations. I have difficulties in accepting that.”