The Supreme Court has sentenced a 38-year-old father to two years and 10 months behind bars for committing incest with his 13-year-old daughter.
The offence was committed in a village on West Epi in June 2018.
It was revealed in court that the offence occurred one night when the defendant whose name is being withheld went to where his 13-year-old biological daughter was sleeping with her siblings. He called her name four times before she finally woke up and went to him.
The father took her to another room and proceeded to have sexual intercourse with her. The defendant warned his daughter not to talk about it or tell anyone about what he had done to her.
When the defendant was arrested, he claimed his daughter always slept naked which tempted him to commit the offence. The man also blamed his wife, whom he claimed had deserted the family two years earlier leaving him to raise their four daughters and two sons on his own.
But Justice Daniel Fatiaki told him what he did was inexcusable.
“Let me say this at once to you,” Justice Fatiaki stated.
“What you did to your daughter was disgraceful and inexcusable. She is not your wife. You also claim that your daughter often sleeps fully naked and that had tempted you to commit the offence. I totally disbelieve you in your belated attempt to justify your behaviour.”
Considering the aggravating factors, Fatiaki noted, “The victim was your biological daughter and lived under your care and protection. You are a sexually mature father of 38 years and your young immature daughter was just 13 years of age. There was an age difference of 25 years between you.
“Your daughter’s victim impact statement prepared in January 2019 speaks of her shame of going to school and walking about with her friends and her fear of being the subject of community gossip.
“Her concentration has been adversely affected and she has lost interest in schooling. She also feels shame whenever she sees your face and she no longer wishes to see you anymore.”
Incest carries a maximum penalty of 15 years’ imprisonment. The father received an end sentence of two years and 10 months after the mitigating factors were taken into consideration. This included him being a first-time offender, cooperation with the police and pleading guilty at the first available opportunity.
He also showed remorse and raised his six children on his own for three years until he committed the offence.
The presiding judge added, “For your personal mitigating factors, I deduct 12 months leaving a sentence of: (72 – 12) = 60 months’ imprisonment. From that 60 months, I discount a further one third (i.e. 20 months) in recognition of your early guilty plea which has saved your daughter from the additional trauma of having to testify in Court about her ordeal at your hands.
“Accordingly, your end sentence is: (60 – 20) = 40 months imprisonment less the 3 months you spent in remand giving a final end sentence of (40 – 3) = 34 months (2 years and 10 months) imprisonment with effect from 11 December 2018.”
SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST