A 40-year-old man who had sexually abused a four-year-old neighbour last July in Honiara has been sentenced to nine years imprisonment at the High Court.
The man who cannot be named to protect the identity of the young complainant was sentenced after pleading guilty to one count of having sexual intercourse with an underage child.
Judge Maelyn Bird in her sentencing remarks urged the government of the day to must also take an active role in trying to vigorously contain the escalating number of sexual related offences in the country.
“The job to try and curb crimes is not merely for the judiciary,” Bird said.
She added that the main duty of the judiciary is to punish the delinquents.
“What should the execute arm do, to try and curb the rising rates of crimes in the country?
“How could the executive promote the welfare of its citizens so that its citizens do not feel left out and would eventually turn to crime?
Bird further added that the law is framed in such a way as to protect our female population from such disgraceful conduct from the male population.
“Such crimes as this, is now becoming very prevalent in all of our communities in the country,” Bird said.
She said a good number of children of the female gender and who are below the age of 10 years have been sexual abused in their lives by adult male persons.
“This shows that there has been an erosion of social norms in our country.”
The incident happened on 19 July 2019.
The complainant went to the accused’s area to play with other children and whilst she was playing, the accused called the complainant to him into the accused’s family house.
The accused led the complainant to his room and then committed the sexual offence.
Bird then told the accused that the most obvious aggravating factor in his case is one of age disparity.
She told the accused he was an adult of 40 years while the complainant was a child of four years old.
“The age disparity was 36 years.”
Bird also told the accused that he had taken advantage of the complainant’s vulnerability and at her tender age she would have not suspected or would have known what his intentions were.
“She could not even comprehend the extent of your actions,” she said.
Bird further added that it was obvious from the facts that the accused premeditated the committing of the offence.
She said the accused made sure there were no adults around the area as well as in his house when he committed the offence.
“You performed a very disgraceful behaviour on a child.
“It was a very selfish act of sexual lust and desire on a child of tender age.
“She was below the age of consent and what you did was for your own selfish self-satisfaction,” Bird told the accused.
The child victim sustained injuries to her private body part as a result of the accused’s conduct.
Bird said being so innocent of the implication and consequences of her disgraceful conduct, the complainant relayed to her mother and elder sister what the accused had done to her.
“She will never forget what you have done to her on that fateful day.
“It will ponder on her mind for the rest of her life.”
It was also heard the complainant sustained injuries to her private body part as a result of the incident.
Bird before imposing sentence also noted the doctor’s report dated 15 August 2019, which it was noted the accused sustained injuries to his brain from meningitis.
It was also noted from the doctor’s report that the accused had a history of delayed milestone in childhood and also stated that the accused have developed into an adult capable of looking after himself and living meaningful lives with others in the community.
“With the doctor’s comments in mind, I would say that your action on 19 July 2019 is unacceptable and is highly deplored by this court,” Bird told the accused.
The court also heard that reconciliation has been conducted between the accused’s family and the complainant’s family.
As a result of that, the relationship between the two families had been mended but Bird however does not think the reconciliation would weigh more in the accused’s favour.
“A criminal offence had been committed and you have to face the consequences,” Bird told the accused.
Bird then imposed a nine year jail term and also directed that the time the accused spent in custody to be deducted from the total sentence.
The accused was represented by Rodney Manebosa while Public Prosecutors Margaret Suifa’asia and Jonathan Auga appeared for the Crown.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN