Man guilty of raping boy
A 25-year-old has pleaded guilty to twice raping a 13-year-old boy last year.
The rapes, the Supreme Court heard on Friday, took place in two incidents last June.
The names of the victim and perpetrator were suppressed by order of the Acting Chief Justice Vui Clarence Nelson.
The boy, then aged 13, was walking to the store when the defendant forcefully pulled him into bushes, the court was told, where he forced the boy to perform oral sex on him.
The defendant went on to penetrate the boy, prosecutors alleged.
In an almost inaudible tone, the defendant entered pleas of guilty before the Chief Justice Friday morning.
Friday’s guilty plea came only after his matter had been called twice before this week on Wednesday and Thursday.
He initially denied violating the boy and his trial was scheduled to begin on Wednesday but his absence from court prevented the matter from proceeding.
The Police Commissioner, Fuiavailiili Egon Keil, was warned this week by Supreme Court Judges for potentially being in contempt of court by detaining defendants who were legally required in court for trial.
The matter was resolved on Friday, when defendants were brought to the courthouse in time.
The man was initially facing five sexually-related charges. But in a plea bargain, he was allowed to enter guilty pleas to two counts of sexual violation by unlawful sexual penetration and one count of performing an indecent act on a young person after putting his penis in the boy's mouth.
Earlier in the week, Police did not bring a litany of defendants, including the 25-year-old perpetrator, to court for proceedings and instead kept them at the Tanumalala prison.
In the Supreme Court on Thursday, Justice Vui said the accused’s continued detention despite being ordered to be present in court amounted to unconstitutional detention.
Justice Vui said he did not want to issue a writ of habeas corpus due to an apparent “lapse” in communication between the prosecution and Police.
(A writ of habeas corpus is a centuries-old legal requirement that an accused be brought before the Court to determine whether their imprisonment is lawful.)
“So you can advise the Commissioner of that: that the Court has ordered for him [one of the accused] to be produced again; this is the second order,” said the Supreme Court Judge.
The defendant in the sexual violation case is scheduled to be sentenced on 17 June, 2020.
He was represented by defence attorney Michael Afamasaga.