A 45-year-old man has been sentenced to three years in prison for one count of unlawful sexual intercourse and one count of an act of Indecency.
The victim is a 15-year-old girl.
Justice Andree Wiltens said the offending took place in a domestic setting, with the defendant residing at the premises as a member of the wider family which aggravated the case.
He said the defendant took advantage of the absence of the victim’s parents in order to perpetrate these offences and there was a breach of trust, as he was included as one of the wider family.
Justice Wiltens said there was a significant age disparity between them and exposed the victim to sexually transmitted disease and unwanted pregnancy.
He said there are no mitigating factors relating to the offending and picked up six years as the starting point.
“I accept there is a low level of remorse, given that the defendant waited until the day of trial to plead – the effect of that is that the complainant would have come to court with the expectation of having to testify about these matters”, he said.
“In the circumstances I reduce the end sentence by two months to take this into account”.
He said the defendant has performed a custom reconciliation ceremony that reduced the sentence to another six months.
The judge said the man has no previous conviction which enables a further reduction of nine months and further take into account that he has spent some five months in custody prior to trial.
“I allow a further reduction of eight months for that,” he said.
“Taking all of those matters into account, the end sentence that must be imposed is one of three years imprisonment.
“I impose that on both charges concurrently.”
Justice Wiltens said the main purpose and principles of sentencing for this type of offending are to hold the offender accountable for his conduct and the harm done, promote a sense of responsibility for the harm done and to denounce such a conduct.
He said the punishment is also served to deter the offender and the public at large from this type of behaviour, protect the community, assist in rehabilitation and reintegration, and take into account the gravity of the offending.
The court also took into account the seriousness of the offending in comparison with other offending, consider consistency of sentencing and parity of sentences, and imposed the least restriction possible.
SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST