Utuali'i man appeals rape conviction

A 21-year-old man from Utuali'i is appealing the Supreme Court’s decision following a 2019 trial where a panel of assessors found him guilty of forcing a six-year-old girl to have sex with him.

The defendant, Tamapaa Siueva, who was 18 when at the time, appeared in the Court of Appeal on Tuesday.

Lawyers, Alex Su’a and Cata Seiuli, represented Siueva.

The rape occurred in the village of Utualii in 2017 and trial was held in 2019 with Supreme Court Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren presiding.

In her evidence, the victim said Siueva raped her and he also used a stick during the process.

The assessors found Siueva guilty. Justice Tafaoimalo convicted him and sentenced Siueva to serve 15 years in prison.

But his lawyer, Mr. Su’a has asked the Court of Appeal to: 1) Overturn his client’s guilty verdict, 2) Reverse the conviction and 3) Lessen his sentencing.

Magele Leone  Sua-Mailo and Lucymaria Sio Ofoia of the Attorney General’s Office are prosecutors in the appeal.

Members of Siueva’s family were present for the hearing. The defendant was remanded back into custody after the appeal was heard.

The court has reserved its decision. Presiding in the matter were Justice Vui Clarence Nelson, Justice Robert Lloyd Fisher and Justice Rhys Harrison.

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