A young man, who was 25 years old at the time of the offending, has been sentenced to four years and four months imprisonment for sexual intercourse without consent.
The female victim was 14 years old.
Mr Olivier Nako pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity to the charge, which had a maximum sentence of imprisonment for life.
Supreme Court Judge, Viran Trief Molisa, found that early in December 2018, Nako requested the victim to be his friend on Facebook and she accepted because they were related.
Over time Nako’s chats on Facebook altered and demonstrated Nako’s lustful feeling towards the victim.
On December 15 the defendant texted the victim to meet him but she refused. Inadvertently she came across him later on and he took her to his house where he asked for sex but the victim declined.
Despite the refusal, the defendant went ahead to commit the crime.
The victim did not report this right away as she was afraid of her parents’ reaction, but the matter came to light after Nako’s partner saw his Facebook messages.
Justice Trief placed a starting sentence of seven years after taking into consideration the aggravating factors.
These include the girl being a 14-year-old and the age difference, her suffering at the hands of a family member and neighbour, the element of grooming through Facebook chats, premeditation in the offending, and unprotected sex resulting in the exposure of the victim to sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy.
“There is no question that the offence of sexual intercourse without consent warrants an immediate custodial sentence,” Justice Trief said in her ruling.
But after considering mitigating factors that include Nako being with no previous convictions, was remorseful, attempt to perform a custom reconciliation, which was refused by the girls’ parents and the offender’s fall from grace after his government-funded scholarship was terminated as a result of this incident.
The early guilty plea further resulted in the sentence reduced to four years and four months.
Justice Trief decided not to exercise her discretion to suspend the sentence.
SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST