A 32-year-old father has been sentenced to one year and six months in prison for raping a teenage girl, eight years ago.

The man who could not be named is from Gaua. He is married with three children, the incident happened when he was 24.

Justice Dudley Aru said the matter only came to light after the man badly assaulted the victim when she couldn’t answer her phone, because she was out fishing in a canoe.

Justice Aru said after the assault the victim was unable to walk properly for some time. She then decided to run away and reported the defendant to the Women’s Centre on Gaua.

He said they assisted her in reporting the matter to the police. The initial complaint was for sexual intercourse without consent, but it was amended to unlawful sexual intercourse with a young person.

The judge said the trial did not proceed given that the complainant was still in Santo, it was then adjourned to June 12, 2018.

He said that on the date before the trial begun, the Prosecutor informed the Court that he intended to amend the information and sought leave to do so and also for the defendant to retake his plea.

“There were no objections to his reasons for doing so and leave was granted,” he said.

“The information was amended by adding a further charge of unlawful sexual intercourse contrary to section 97 (2) as count 2 in which he admitted but denied the count 1 which is sexual intercourse without consent.

“The Prosecutor then entered a nolle prosequi in relation to count 1 and the defendant was discharged accordingly on that count alone.

He said the complainant and the defendant are related as their mothers are sisters and they both live in one village in Gaua Island.

He said the complainant was living with their grandmother at the time of the incident as her mother had died and her father had remarried and moved on with his own life.

Justice Aru said following his arrest, the defendant admitted that he had been having sexual intercourse with the complainant previously without any complaints until the assault.

He said the offending occurred between 2010 and 2011 in their village and it happened mostly in their kitchen and in their gardens.

“You are a married man and you chose to take advantage of a girl who was more or less an orphan as her mother had passed and father had remarried,” he said.

“The only protection she had was the care of a woman who was a grandmother to both of you and despite being closely related, that did not deter you from abusing her in the manner you did.

“The serious assault to her body gave her the courage to ran way and report you”.

He said unlawful sexual intercourse is an offence that prohibits sexual intercourse with young girls under 13 years of age and those who are over 13, but the fact that the girl consented has no relevance whatsoever as it is not a defence.

Justice Aru said the man has performed a custom reconciliation to his wife by giving money but not to the complainant.