By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN
A MAN in his 50’s who impregnated his 12-year-old step-daughter has been jailed for nine years on Tuesday.
The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, was found guilty after a trial for one count of defilement.
Justice Emmanuel Kouhota told the accused that the scar of the offence he committed on his step-daughter will remain with her for the rest of her life.
“I consider this case as a classic example of sexual abuse and this cannot be tolerated in a civilised Solomon Islands,” Justice Kouhota said.
The court earlier heard the accused had sex with the 12 year-old girl for a period of 12 months in 2013 until she became pregnant.
The incident occurred in 2013 at a village in Guadalcanal.
The victim is related to the accused not only as his step-daughter but as a niece as well.
She is the daughter of the accused’s blood brother and she became the accused’s step-daughter when the accused married her mother.
“In your case you continuously had sexual intercourse with a girl under-12 years of age until she got pregnant.
“Defilement or having sex with a girl less than 13 years of age is a very serious offence and carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment..
“You not only had sex with a girl less than 13 years of age but the girl or victim is your niece and also your step-daughter, thus there is a breach of trust on your part to the victim.”
Justice Kouhota considered a starting point of eight years imprisonment after considering the facts of the case.
He also took into account the accused is a first-time offender and that he already paid compensation to the victim’s relatives.
“Apart from that, I cannot see any real mitigating factors.
“While compensation is a custom to appease peace and maintain relationship in the community, compensation does not buy you out of the consequences of breaking the law.”
Justice Kouhota told the accused the breach of trust as a step father and an uncle of the victim and that there was a great age disparity between them made his case serious.
“The evidence shows that you continuously had sexual intercourse with this 12-year-old girl for a period of about 12 months until she became pregnant.
“It is a clear case of abuse of this young girl to satisfy your sexual desire.
“The court has a duty to protect young vulnerable girls from like minded men as yourself by imposing deterrent sentences on those who abused young vulnerable girls.”
Having considered the facts of this case, the aggravating factors and all other circumstances surrounding this case and making allowances for the accused’s previous good character, Justice Kouhota sentenced him to nine years imprisonment.
The time he spent in custody will be counted as part of the sentence.
Michael Holara of the Public Solicitor’s Office represented the accused while Public Prosecutor Elma Rizzu appeared for the Crown.