A man has been ordered to serve 15 years behind bars after he admitted to raping his 5, 14 and 17 years old daughters.
Supreme Court Justice David Chetwynd said that guilty pleas were entered after a trial had started and two of the victims had given evidence in court.
Justice Chetwynd said that the offences all occurred at night in the home where the defendant was living with his children and his wife.
He said that the rape that was submitted was digital rape and the offences should be treated differently.
The Judge said that the elements of the offence involve, as section 90 makes clear, sexual intercourse where there is no consent. Consent must bear its natural meaning. Sexual intercourse is defined in the Penal Code at section 89A:-
“For the purposes of this part sexual intercourse means any of the following activities ….:
(a) the penetration, to any extent, of the vagina or anus of a person by any part of the body of another person…”
He said that the section does not differentiate between penile or digital penetration.
“I accept that penile rape may have more aggravating features than digital rape because of the risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted deceases with the former but I can see no reason why digital rape should be treated less seriously,” he said.
“As has been said in various cases over the years the starting point for an offence of rape committed by an adult with no aggravating or mitigating circumstances should be five years and that is where we start in this case.
Justice Chetwynd said that the offence involving a five-year-child must attract a substantial uplift and ever more so when the child is a son or daughter.
He said that in addition this was one of a series of rapes.
“A son or daughter would be entitled to feel that he or she will be safe in their own home and would be protected by a parent,” he said.
“When a parent sexually abuses one of their own children in their home this is such a fundamental breach of trust that the sentence should reflect the catastrophic harm, physical and psychological, that such abuse will cause.
“I do not see that a sentence any less than 15 years should be imposed.”
He said that for the rape of a 14-year-child the sentence should be only slightly less because although less harmful than abuse involving a very young child, the breach of trust and harm caused is still very serious.
“The sentence should be 12 years imprisonment,” he said.
“When the rape involves a young adult there is still considerable harm and so for the offence involving the 17-year-old daughter the defendant will be sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.
In mitigation it can only be said the defendant has taken part in a ceremony involving payment of a fine and so has shown some remorse.
“He also has a clear record up to now and this is of only minor relevance in mitigation.
“Taking these matters into account the sentences can be reduced by 6 months.”
Justice Chetwynd said that as the guilty pleas were entered only after two of the victims had given evidence there can be no credit given to guilty pleas and that leaves sentences of 14 ½ years, 11 ½ and 9 ½ years. READ MORE
SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST