A FATHER who sexually abused his foster daughter when she was only 13 was sent to jail for eight years, on Thursday.
The man’s name was suppressed to protect the victim’s identity.
He pleaded guilty to three counts of defilement and six counts of indecent assault.
The offences occurred at the family’s home on unknown dates between December, 2013 and May, 2014 in Makira-Ulawa Province.
The victim was only 13 when the offences began in December, 2013.
The court heard lurid details of the first indecent assault, during which the accused isolated the victim in a room, grabbed her against him, took out his penis and then forced it into the victim’s mouth.
On five more occasions since then, the accused also forced the victim to perform oral sex on him.
Sentencing the accused, Principal Magistrate Edwin Saramo said, the accused doesn’t have what it takes to be a foster father.
“By adopting the victim, the accused had pledged fatherhood to her,” Mr Saramo said.
“And yet as his foster daughter grew up to puberty and stood at that cross road in every teenage girl’s life when she expects to look up to her father for inspiration and guidance, all the accused could do for her was to stand over her and demand his own sexual gratification at the expenses of her own welfare,” Mr Saramo added.
“He is a failed father.”
Rejecting the accused’s plea for lenience, Magistrate Saramo said, that the accused did not show any mercy to the victim so he should not expect any mercy from the court.
“Defilement is a serious offence, carrying a maximum penalty of 14 years.
“As for the offences of indecent assault, they are just as serious as rape, at least from a lay perspective, because the accused forced the victim to perform oral sex on him.
“The only reason the accused was not charged with rape is that penile penetration of a woman’s mouth against her will does not constitute rape; it is mere indecent assault under our law.
“Rape requires non-consensual penile penetration of the vagina,” Magistrate Saramo explained.
He also rejected defence’s plea for a rehabilitative sentence, saying that in sexual offences against children the proper sentencing goal is deterrence.
“A deterrent sentence would make an example of the accused and, just as significantly, would give heartened assurance to the victim that the law stands, bold and upright, on her side,” Mr Saramo said.
Margaret Suifa’asia of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions prosecuted the case on behalf of the Crown, whilst Chris Rarumae of the Office of the Public Solicitor represented the accused.