A 22-year-old has been sentenced to 5 years in prison for threatening a woman, who was 4 months pregnant, into engaging in sexual intercourse against her will.

In July 2023, Amzy Apia illegally entered the victim’s home in Espigles Bay, northwest Malekula, and threatened her into engaging in sexual activity. He had a bush knife with him and warned her not to disclose the incident to her partner or he would harm them with a gun.

This incident happened around midday while the victim’s partner was attending a football game at Matanvat village. Upon returning around 7pm, he saw her in tears and asked her what happened, prompting her to disclose the actions of the accused.

He became angry and assaulted the complainant. They lodged a complainant with the police at Lakatoro on August 2.

The defendant, Apia, was charged with one count of sexual intercourse without consent. He pleaded not guilty to the charge, but the court found him guilty.

The victim was a newcomer to the area, having only arrived there with her partner in June. Oliver Abraham Saksak of the Supreme Court stated in the verdict dated February 22, 2024: “She deserve love and care from relatives, instead she was taken advantage of by a ravenous predator who does not deserve to remain in the community.

Judge Saksak gave Apia a sentence start point of 8 years’ imprisonment.

The aggravating features of the case were a serious breach of trust, threats used with the use of a knife and a gun, the victim being in her fourth month of pregnancy, risk of venereal diseases and the damage done her relationship with her partner and the occurrence of the offence within the confines of the private house of the complainant.

After considering submissions by the defence counsel, Judge Saksak reduced the defendant’s sentence by 3 years due to his young age, being a first time offender, his personal character and history.

Apia has already spent 3 weeks in custody before being granted bail.

His sentence will commence on March 7, next Thursday, when he will report to the probation officer at Lakatoro for his transfer to the Correctional Centre in Luganville, Santo.

He was given 14 days to appeal the sentence.