Fa’atoia man found guilty of 2016 rape

A Fa’atoia man has been found guilty of raping a 20-year-old woman three years ago following a weeklong trial. 

Siaosi So’oa was found guilty verdict by assessors on Thursday after a weeklong case which was presided over by Supreme Court Justice, Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala. 

In her testimony the complainant recalled that in August 2016 she went to buy sugar and on her way back she stopped in at the defendant’s residence for a cold drink. 

“I stood at the front window and called out to Siaosi if I can get some ice water. He said that I can help myself to the fridge," the woman said, while sobbing on the stand. 

“After getting a drink I felt Siaosi’s arm grabbing me. He pulled me to the floor, removed my lavala and raped me.

“When he was finished he threatened me not to tell anyone otherwise he will come after me."

The defendant is related to the complaining witness by marriage. Her husband’s Aunt is married to the defendant. 

The defendant was represented by Tufuga Fagaloa Tufuga while Fuifui Ioane was prosecuting for the Attorney General’s office. 

The complaining witness took the stand and told the court the events of the day in question. 

During cross examination, Tufuga questioned why the complaining witness waited two months to disclose the alleged incident. 

“I was protecting myself as I live with my in-laws and I was scared," she said. 

The defence's counsel also questioned why she did not scream if that was the case. 

The complaining witness said the house next door was abandoned and their house was a little father to the back.

Ms. Fuifui during her opening remarks noted their side called four witnesses, the complaining witness and police officers who investigated the case. 

The defendant was charged with rape and there are elements of the charge the Police must prove beyond reasonable doubt, she said:

“Now it was the police who charged the defendant and brought him to court today. 

“The burden of proving the guilt of the defendant rests on the prosecution. 

“This means that it is the prosecution’s duty to call evidence to prove that the defendant is guilty. 

“The defendant does not need to call evidence to prove that he is innocent of the charge. This is because under the Constitution of our country, a person who has been charged with a criminal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty."

In the end Assessors found the defendant guilty. 

The defendant is scheduled to appear in court for sentencing on 27 September. 

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