A man was sentenced to 9 years and 6 months’ imprisonment for having sexual intercourse with his niece more than once, and for his act of indecency without consent.
Ronnie Vira committed the offences against his niece when she was living with him as a student from 2016 to 2017. This happened at home when his wife was at work. The niece was 17-18 years old and her uncle was 38-39 years.
According to the verdict, the niece had not consented to any of these events.
Sexual intercourse without consent has a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The maximum sentence for an act of indecency without consent is 7 years’ imprisonment.
Having considered the aggravating factors, Supreme Court Judge Gus Andrée Wiltens,adopted a sentence startingpoint of 10 years’ imprisonment, on a global concurrent basis.
Aggravating factors included the repeat nature of offending -over 2-year period, Mr. Vira’s controlling behavior, breach of trust, offending was pre-mediated, offending occurred at home where the niece should have been able to feel safe and secured, and lack of protection used, exposing her to unwanted pregnancy and sexually transported disease.
The sentence was reduced by 6 months due to his personal factors, such as having no previous convictions and being the sole breadwinner for his family.
Judge Wiltens stated: “The end sentence I impose is 9 years and 6 months’ imprisonment. I impose that on the 2 sexual intercourse charges concurrently.
“In respect of the act of indecency charge, I impose a sentence of 2 years and 6 months’ imprisonment, to be served concurrently.
“Mr. Vira was arrested on January 3, 2021 and remanded in custody until he was granted bail on January 20, 2021. Following the publication of my verdicts on September 22 2021, he was remanded in custody due to the inevitability of his sentence resulting in incarceration.
“Accordingly, the sentence start date is back-dated to commence on September 22, this year.
“The seriousness and the sexual nature of the charges militate against any suspension of sentence.
Vira was given 14 days to appeal the sentence.
SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST