Man jailed for sex with wife's sister

A man has been jailed for six months after he pleaded guilty to multiple charges for sex with a minor over a four-month period last year. The victim was his wife's sister.

Nevile Farani, 26, of Faleasiu and Tufulele entered a guilty plea to 10 counts of sexual connection and two counts of sexual conduct. 

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.

He appeared before Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren in the Supreme Court for sentencing. 

A summary of facts furnished to the court by the Police, which the accused has accepted, states that the victim is a sister-in-law of the accused and was 15 years of age at the time of offending.

The court heard that between 30 June 2019 and 1 November 2019, the accused and the victim engaged in sexual intercourse and sexual acts, until the victim fell pregnant to the accused. According to the pre-sentence report, the accused is still married to the sister of the victim.

“The accused tells probation that the victim initiated the sexual connection and came to him each time they had sex. He has apologised to the victim and his wife’s parents and they have accepted his apology.” 

However, the victim’s impact report emphasised that the accused initiated the sexual connection.

“Then it became a regular occurrence that he would come to where she was sleeping and have sex. Her baby to the accused is now being looked after by her parents. She says the accused has run away from their family and their village. She regrets what happened and does not want to see him again.”

Justice Tafaoimalo noted that it is aggravating that the victim was only 15-years-old and there is a 11-year age disparity between the victim and the accused.

And the sexual offending occurred multiple times which the Justice Tafaoimalo suggests is premeditation on the part of the accused who continued to approach the victim.

“It is also aggravating that the victim fell pregnant as a result of the actions of the accused. She is a child herself and now has a child. The impact on the victim is an aggravating feature.”

Justice Tafaoimalo further said it is also aggravating that the accused was the victim’s brother-in-law and they are related by marriage hence being in a domestic relationship.

“The breach of trust given that the accused is a close family member,” Justice Tafaoimalo further emphasised.

According to the Supreme Court Justice, deterrence is paramount to deter older men from taking advantage of young girls in their families and villages. 

“Young girls have not attained the maturity to make rational and sensible decisions about their sexuality. I take the totality approach to this sentence and give one sentence for all the 10 counts of sexual connection.”

“Having taken into account the aggravating features of this offending, I take the starting point for sexual connection at 26 months imprisonment.” 

The accused was convicted of 10 counts of sexual connection with a young person and sentenced to six months imprisonment. The charges of two counts of sexual conduct with a young person, for which he was sentenced to two months imprisonment are to be served concurrently. 

The court also ordered name suppression for the victim, though this did not apply to the accused, noted Justice Tafaoimalo. 

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