Man jailed for sex with 10-year-old

A 40 year old man has been sentenced to seven years' jail after he admitted to sexual connection with a 10 year old girl. 

The defendant, who appeared in court for sentencing on Tuesday, was facing seven charges of sexual connection in relation to three separate incidents involving the victim. 

Supreme Court Justice Leiataulesa Darryl Clarke suppressed the victim and the defendant’s identity. 

In court, Justice Leiataulesa noted the Police summary of facts state there were three sexual incidents that occurred on and about 1 March to 31 2018. 

The first occurred when the defendant and his wife, went to ask the victim’s parents if the victim could come to their house to do her homework together with their children. The defendant asked the victim and his two children to go and pick up coconuts in the backyard. 

“In the course of picking up coconuts, the victim was standing under a coconut tree and you embraced her from behind and told her not to make a sound," the Police report read. 

"The victim was scared and cried while you tried to remove her clothes. She called out to her son but you covered her mouth."

The defendant then performed sexual acts on the victim and gave her $5 tala afterwards, Police said. 

The second incident occurred when the defendant dropped off his kids to the school and took the victim in a secluded area and performed sexual acts on her and again gave her $5 tala. 

The third incident happened at the time the victim was attending a church event. The defendant took her to the umu shed and after performing sexual acts on the girl he gave her $3 tala. 

Justice Leiataulesa said his sentencing took into account factors including: the vulnerability of the victim and the age disparity of 30 years; the number of occasions in which the offending occurred; and the family relationship with the victim and the consequential breach of trust in the offending; and the impact of offending on the victim. 

“You appear for very serious charges of sexual connection with a child under 12. It carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment reflecting Parliament as well as society’s condemnation of such acts against young and vulnerable children," the Judge said. 

In the pre-sentence report, it appeared the defendant minimised the seriousness of his offending. 

“You also told Probation that, in recounting the first two incidences, that she enjoyed it.

“The child cannot consent as she was 10 years of age. At such an age, frankly in my view, she also cannot understand nor appreciate what it is that you are doing to her or what it means.

“That you should suggest that she is consenting or enjoying what you did to in some way justify your acts and minimise its seriousness seems to suggest that you fail to understand why what you did is so wrong and condemned by Parliament and Society. 

"This is not a person with the mind of an adult woman understanding these matters but a child 10 years of age.

“As this court has stated on many previous occasions, this law is there to protect young girls from older men and to protect young girls from themselves because they are too young to know better.” 

The prosecution in the case had sought a 12 year starting point for sentencing. 

“In your case, I accept that your offending falls within the top end and that a 12 year start point for sentence is appropriate. 

“Your offending occurred on three separate occasions involving various types of sexual connection with this child; there was clear premeditation and planning and for the aggravating factors that I have set out earlier.” 

Justice Leiataulesa made deductions due to his remorse and apology, an existing village punishment and banishment and his guilty plea in deciding to issue a sentence of seven years and nine months; imprisonment at Tanumalala. 

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