A man from Vanualava who pleaded guilty to raping and assaulting his de-facto partner has been sentenced to 7 years in jail by the Supreme Court.

Nigel Charles was convicted of two counts of sexual intercourse without consent and one count of intentional assault causing permanent damage, contrary to section 107(c) of the Penal Code Act.

He committed these offences while on parole for a previous conviction. He was convicted in 2018 for aggravated sexual intercourse against his 12-year-old stepdaughter.

The court heard that Charles forced the complainant into having intercourse through threats on different occasions from January to December last year.

On March 29 this year, Charles physically assaulted the complainant on her left hand with a wooden broom. Things got bad that evening when she told him to play religious songs instead of secular music. He got angry and swore at her. She swore back at him and he whipped her until the broom broke.

The complainant’s hand had to be cemented. A medical examination report was made confirming a distal fracture of her ulnar bone.

Charles was arrested on June 15. He admitted the assault to the police and was taken back into custody. He reoffended and breached his parole requirements.

After considering the aggravating factors and previous cases, Chief Justice (CJ) Vincent Lunabek gave him a starting sentence of 8 years imprisonment. The sentence was reduced by 25% due to his early guilty plea.

CJ Lunabek lifted Charles’ sentence by 16 months imprisonment because he reoffended while serving parole.

Charles reported that he was under the influence of alcohol during the recent offences and that he was sorry for his action and would not re-offend in the future. There is nothing in the circumstance to mitigate the offending, CJ Lunabek stated in the verdict of September 18, 2023.

Charles’ sentence is effective from August 23, following the end of his parole on August 16. The CJ stated that the nature and seriousness of the offending do not justify suspending the sentence.

“The principle of deterrence and accountability of your actions are the paramount sentencing principles in this instance. The public needs to be protected case, from you as a recidivist offender. Rehabilitation is not a priority consideration in your case Mr. Charles,” said Lunabek.

Charles was given 14 days to appeal the sentence.

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SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST