Appeal against father found not guilty of daughter rape

A prosecutor is asking the Supreme Court to overturn the verdict of a-father-of-six who assessors acquitted of rape and sexual connection during trial.

The father, whose name has been suppressed by court order, appeared Tuesday afternoon in the Supreme Court.

Last month he was in the Supreme Court for an assessor’s rape trial presided over by Supreme Court Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren.

The assessors returned with a verdict of not guilty.

The prosecutor, Ann Matalasi, said the evidence for a guilty verdict was overwhelming and is asking Justice Tafaoimalo to review the evidence and deliver a guilty verdict. 

He was on trial for one count of rape of a young person and one count of sexual connection with a young person under the age of 13.

His daughter, the victim, testified during the trial and said her father was molesting her since the age of 10. The victim’s testimony, said Matalasi, was consistent throughout the trial. She was the main witness.

On the night of the rape, in April 2019, the defendant called the victim over to his sleeping area on the floor and told her to scratch his back.

The victim fell asleep next to her father and she alleged he sexually penetrated her as she slept on her side. 

That was alleged to have happened while his wife and other children in the house were asleep.

The girl said they were discovered when her mother came to her father’s sleeping area and pulled the bedsheet off them.

Her father was trying to fix his ie lavalava when the bedsheet was removed.

Matalasi pointed to evidence from a medical doctor who examined the victim. 

The doctor testified that the victim’s hymen was torn due to sexual intercourse.

“The defendant not only raped her, it was done without her consent,” the prosecutor said. 

“[The] prosecution has proven her case beyond a reasonable doubt….if there was no evidence, Your Honour, then the verdict would be reasonable but in this case…prosecution has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The defence counsel, Unasa Iuni Sapolu, opposes the application for a reversal of the not guilty verdict.

In part of her argument, Unasa, said the evidence from the male medical expert could not be taken as conclusive proof that sexual intercourse has occurred. 

“There were other possibilities,” said the defence counsel. “In his opinion, it was caused by sexual intercourse or other possibilities, the possibilities are there…the possibilities are immeasurable.”

Justice Tafaimalo has reserved her decision in the matter.

She is scheduled to hand down her ruling on 5 August at 10 a.m.


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