Man sentenced to over six years imprisonment for rape

A man from Sinamoga and Siufaga Falelatai has been sentenced to six years and eight months imprisonment for raping an Australian woman.

Thirty-two-year-old Terry Fa’ati - also known as DJ Shawty - pleaded guilty to the attack, which occurred last November. He was sentenced by Supreme Court Justice Leiataualesa Darryl Clarke on Wednesday.

According to the summary of facts accepted, on November 20 last year Fa’ati, the victim and a few friends went out out partying.

At the closing of the night club, the victim - whose name has not been released - become heavily intoxicated. The Judge's sentencing remarks outlined the way in which the crime unfolded:

“You then told the victim’s other friends that you should take her back to her hotel. 

“Together with the victim and friends, you caught a taxi to her hotel. On arriving at the hotel, you escorted the intoxicated victim to her room while the others followed. 

"The victim entered the room and went straight to bed. You prepared the victim food while the others drank on the hotel balcony. You then went to the hotel balcony and joined the drinking.

"The police report says after a while, you went inside where the victim was sleeping. You closed the curtains and turned off the lights and had sexual intercourse with the woman without her consent. 

“This however caused the victim to wake-up from her sleep. The victim saw you on top of her and she pushed you off. She started to cry and told you to leave. You apologised and left.” 

Justice Leiataualesa said the defendant was a close friend of the victim.

Fa’ati is married with three children and his family resides in New Zealand. 

The defendant in his pre-sentence report expressed his remorse for the crime and apologised personally to the victim and her mother. The apology was accepted.

Justice Leiataualesa stated the victim is a 30-year-old female from Melbourne, Australia.

She visits Samoa regularly and developed a relationship with the defendant who was working at the hotel, and over the years they became good friends. 

“[The victim] suffers from post-traumatic stress, has had to consult a psychologist to help her, takes medication for depression, suffers from nightmares, trouble sleeping, being easily overwhelmed by simple things and is afraid," said Justice Leiataualesa.

“She can’t walk alone and suffers from panic attacks and is not able to do normal activities such as going to a gym because of her feeling of discomfort as there are mostly men at the gym. 

"Your offending has had a significant impact on her life."

The vulnerability of the victim was stressed as an aggravating feature of the crime. 

“When you sexually assaulted the victim, she was heavily intoxicated and passed out on the hotel bed as a result of her drunken state; the breach of trust committed by you," the Judge said. 

“You were a long term and trusted friend of the victim. 

“She trusted you as a close friend to take her home and care for her. Instead of doing so, you sexually assaulted her as she was passed out in bed after a long night of drinking; and the impact of your offending on the victim.” 

In terms of mitigating factors, Justice Leiataualesa accepted that the defendant is genuinely remorseful of his actions.

“I also take into account your apology in open Court to the victim and her mother, your prior good character and your guilty plea which not only spared the Court’s time and resources but, more importantly, spared the victim the trauma of giving evidence.” 

Justice Leiataualesa’s starting his point of sentencing at 10 years; however, one year was deducted the defendant’s genuine remorse and his apology. 

“I also deduct one year for your prior good character and one year and four months for your guilty plea, late as it was but which spared the victim the trauma of giving evidence in these proceedings," Justice Leiataualesa added. 

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