Uncle jailed, 12 years for sexual connection with niece

A 31-year-old man has been convicted and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for sexual connection with his 11-year-old niece. 

Supreme Court Judge, Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala Warren, delivered the sentence against Sikegi Stanley Samuelu, of Vaiusu last Friday.

The uncle of the victim was charged with one count of sexual connection with a child, one count of indecent act on a child and one count of attempting to have sexual connection with a child. 

According to the evidence, in July last year the accused was intoxicated and asked some children to catch his 11-year-old niece and bring her to him. 

This occurred on the road sometime in the evening, where he pulled the victim into a banana patch and attempted to sexually violate her. 

In her ruling, Justice Tafaoimalo made it clear the charge of sexual connection with a child under 12 years old carried the highest penalty available under the criminal law, and that is imprisonment for life. 

“No doubt this penalty reflects the contempt held by society for those who sexually offend against the most vulnerable members of society, being children under 12 years old,” she said in her ruling. 

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“They cannot defend themselves. In this case there is a need to hold the accused accountable for the harm done to the victim to promote in him a sense of responsibility for, and an acknowledgment of that harm, and to provide for the interests of the victim who is very young, vulnerable and defenceless.”

Justice Tafaoimalo emphasized an overriding need to deter the accused and others from committing similar offences and to protect the community from the accused. 

“This protection is particularly important for children,” she said. 

“This is sadly another case of sexual offending committed within a family by a person with a close familial connection to the victim. 

“The accused was intoxicated at the time of this offending. Again we see a case, as we often have, of alcohol-related offending. However alcohol is no excuse for this behaviour.”

Her ruling, Justice Tafaoimalo noted there are no mitigating factors as the accused showed no remorse when given the opportunity to speak in Court. 

For the lead offence of sexual connection with a child, Samuelu is convicted and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. 

For the charge of indecent act on a child, he is sentenced to 2 years imprisonment and for the charge of attempting to have sexual connection he is sentenced to 4 years. 

All sentences are to be served concurrently. 

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