Convict jailed for abducting three-year-old girl

A 25-year-old convict has been jailed for 16 months, over the abduction of a three-year-old girl while she was on an outing with her family, at a swimming spot in Mulinu'u, in 2018.

The defendant, Manusamoa Sialafua, of Luatuanu'u, is a repeat offender who is currently serving a prison term of three years and eight months for burglary and theft.

Supreme Court Justice Mata Keli Tuatagaloa delivered the sentence, and ordered Sialafua to serve the 16-month prison term consecutive with his current prison term.

She admonished the defendant for taking the little girl while she was in a public place with her family and called his behaviour unacceptable. 

Justice Tuatagaloa also scolded him for lying when he claimed that the girl was his daughter.

“Families use these public places to take their children to hang out. That was very rude (lepopoi). If the mother wasn’t quick to realise that her child was missing, she would have looked around and would not have known where this girl was taken,” Justice Tuatagaloa said.

“I will ask you this: If this girl was a member of your family and someone came and carried her away like that – what do you think? 

"This kind of behaviour makes these public places unsafe for families and their children, for them to hang out and use the ocean to swim, because of this kind of behaviour.”

The defendant was intoxicated when he abducted the girl, the Court heard.

“You know that drinking in public places is prohibited but you drank in a public place, you went and drank alcohol there,” said Justice Tuatagaloa.

She said even if Sialafua did not physically harm the child after he abducted her, it doesn’t take away from the fact that he stole the girl from her family and ran.

"That was extreme. Because of this, people and their families are not safe, especially little girls like this,” said Justice Tuatagaloa.

Mitigating factors included an apology performed by his family to the family of the victim. Four months were deducted for the apology.

But Justice Tuatagaloa reminded Sialafua that he lied to the Probation, and even after he pleaded guilty, he lied.

“You admitted your guilt but you are still lying. This is how I know what kind of person you are,” she said.

“The kind of person you are – you know what you did was wrong but you also made a big lie that affects the little girl’s mother. You said the girl is your daughter. But you have no connection to this girl. What an extreme statement you made. 

"But you know very well that you are wrong. “

Prosecutor Ann Matalasi recommended a starting point of three years in prison and defence attorney Mauga Precious Chang asked for 12 months. Justice Tuatagaloa started with two years’ imprisonment.

The abduction happened in November of 2018. 

Shortly after the incident, Sialafua was taken into police custody and detained from December of 2018 until June of 2019.

The defendant was sentenced for the burglary and theft charges on 10 June of 2019.

The defendant cried after his sentencing decision was handed down. After saying good-bye to his family, Sialafua was remanded in custody.

 

 

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