Deceased girl's evidence allowed in father's sex trial
The Supreme Court has allowed the use of an affidavit by a deceased girl, as evidence against her biological father who is accused of incest and other sexual offences.
The decision was made by Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke who allowed the use of the statements from the deceased girl to be tendered as admissible hearsay evidence in the trial of the accused.
The names of the father and the complainant, who died in 2018 have been suppressed by the Court, including publication of the full ruling.
Savalenoa Mareva Betham-Annandale was the lawyer for the defendant before she was appointed the Attorney General.
The father is facing a number of serious charges of alleged sexual offending involving rape, incest, unlawful sexual connection and other charges agains his biological daughter.
The offences are alleged to have taken place between 2014 and 2018.
Lucy Sio Ofoia and Ann Matalasi are the prosecutors and lawyers from the Attorney General’s Office in the matter.
Prosecution had applied for an order under the Evidence Act 2015 for the complainant’s statement to be tendered as admissible hearsay evidence.
They argued that the circumstances relating to the making of the statement provide a reasonable assurance that the statement is reliable and the complainant is unavailable as a witness.
In his decision on the application to admit hearsay statements, Justice Leiataualesa said he is satisfied that the two statements by the complainant in September and December 2018 are admissible in the trial.
He ordered prosecution to file a charging document by Friday 18 September setting out the charges the Attorney General intends to proceed with.
The Judge also acknowledged the lawyers for their detailed considered submissions and “in particular the research that they have carried out to assist me”.
The defendant has been detained in custody and will face additional charges for breaching bail conditions.
The matter has been referred back to mention to set a hearing date.