Man gets 11 years' jail for violating child neighbour
The neighbour of a now 13-year-old girl has been sentenced to 11 years and six months in jail for committing sexual offences against her.
Niusila Uti Silva, 42 years old, from a village in town, was sentenced by Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala – Warren on Friday last week.
The man, who works at his family plantation and is single, committed the sexual offences in 2017 when she was 11 years old.
He pleaded guilty to one count of sexual connection with a child under 12 years old and attempted sexual connection.
Silva admitted in a summary of facts that sometime between January and December 2017 he forced himself on the 11 year old who had came to his house to play with his niece.
The second instance of offending occurred in September 2018 where he sexually violated the victim when she was making her way to the shop.
Lawyer Charlie Vaai represented the defendant while an Attorney General’s Office lawyer, Fuifui Ioane, was the prosecutor.
Justice Tafaoimalo said the matter was a case of rape by an acquaintance, or someone that the victim knows.
She is defined as a child, having been under 12 years old (during the time of offending), said the Supreme Court Judge.
“This offending must be met with deterrent sentences because there is a significant need for deterrence, to deter the offender and to deter other like-minded people from targeting young children who cannot defend themselves and have not yet acquired the maturity to realise what is happening,” she said.
“There is a need to hold the accused accountable for the harm done to the victim, to promote in him a sense of responsibility for, and an acknowledgment of that harm, and to provide for the interests of the victim.
“The effects of this offending on the victim will no doubt last a lifetime.”
The prosecution had sought 12 years' imprisonment while defence asked for 2 years as a starting point.
Justice Tafaoimalo disagreed and took 15 years as his starting point for a sentence.
Two years and six months was deducted for his belated guilty plea and an additional one year was taken away for his good character, remorse, apology and personal circumstances.
A permanent name suppression has been issued for the victim and her family. The defendant's name is not subject to a suppression order.