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Sex predator uncle jailed thirteen years

A 52-year-old father of four who “preyed on the young women of his family”, including the wife of his brother-in-law whom he raped, has been jailed for 13 and a half years.

The sentencing of Siaosi Sooa, of Fa’atoia and Lalomauga, was delivered by Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren this week.

Despite having pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, the defendant was found guilty by a group of assessors.

“It is unfortunate as he should have been their protector, being an older uncle,” Justice Tafaoimalo said. “This case is even more tragic as it resulted in the victim of the rape miscarrying.”

That victim was the wife of his brother-in-law. She was 20 years old at the time of the offending.

The Court heard that in August 2016, the woman had gone to the shop and on her way home, she stopped at the accused man’s house for some ice water.

While she was getting water from the fridge, Sooa pushed her onto the floor and proceeded to rape her.

The Court heard that as a result of the offending by Sooa, his brother-in-law and the victim were separated for four months.

“There was a huge change in her which her husband noticed,” Justice Tafaomalo said.

 “She had tried to hide what happened from her husband. She says she did not know that she was pregnant when she was raped by the accused and only found out when she miscarried later.”

The woman was hospitalised for three days. She told the Court she does not want to see the defendant again.

 “The separation from her husband was particularly hard for her and her two children as they depended on him financially,” added Justice Tafaimalo.

But she wasn’t Sooa’s only victim. His second victim was his 19-year-old niece.

In June 2016, his niece was babysitting her uncle’s children when Sooa indecently assaulted her after the children had fallen asleep.

The victim told the Court that she was emotionally depressed at most times after the attack.

 “Anxiety kicks in very often, ever since these incidents happened before I left the country, I can’t go anywhere by myself,” she said, adding that her biggest fear is sleeping alone.

 “Knowing that this man who did this to me is behind bars has put me in peace of mind and I feel ease and safe at last.

The Court heard that the accused had threatened both the victims not to tell anyone. He is related by marriage to them and they had all lived on the same compound.

In sentencing Sooa, Justice Tafaoimalo stressed the need to hold the accused accountable for the harm done to the victims.

 “There is also an overriding need to deter the accused and others from committing the same or similar offences and to protect the community from the accused,” she said.

 “This protection is particularly important for young persons.

 “It is of major concern to the Court that this offending occurred within the sanctuary of a family residential compound, committed by an older family member.”

Furthermore, she said it appears from the evidence that the accused preyed on the young women of his wife’s family.

Sooa is married with four children. The Court was told there has been no reconciliation within the family.

 

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