A JUDGE has told an elderly chief from Isabel who sexually assaulted his 11-year-old grand-niece twice in 2019 that his behaviour towards the complainant is not one that is expected of him as a chief.
Judge Maelyn Bird made these remarks when sentencing the 59-year-old to four years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of having sexual intercourse with a child under 15 years recently.
“In our Solomon Islands communities, our chiefs are afforded respect because of the position they hold,” Judge Bird told the elderly accused.
“Your behaviour towards the complainant is not one that is expected of you as a chief,” Bird added.
Judge Bird said the age difference between the accused and the complainant was 46 years.
The court heard the accused as 57 years old at the time of the offence and the complainant was 11 years old.
“At such a ripe old age, you could have been able to control your sexual emotions.
“You should have respect for children like the complainant.
“They are not your sex objects or play toys,” Judge Bird told the accused.
“They have as much right as you do.
“You must have regard and respect for children,” Judge Bird added.
The first incident happened between 28 February 2019 and 1 April 2019 at a village in Isabel.
It was heard complainant was walking home after playing with other children on the beach when she saw the accused sitting beside the road.
The accused then pulled the complainant to a nearby bush and sexually assaulted her.
It was heard that after sexually assaulting the complainant, the accused gave her a plastic bag containing five butter biscuits and six coconut biscuits.
The complainant was also told not to tell anyone about the incident.
On 26 April 2019, the complainant was walking home from school with her sister when they met the accused.
The accused ordered the complainant’s sister to go back home and when the complainant was alone with the accused.
At that time, the accused again sexually assaulted the complainant and then after, gave her a lolly and a five-dollar note.
The court heard that on that occasion, a passer-by saw what the accused did to the complainant and reported it to the complainant’s parents.
She confirmed what the accused did to her when her mother asked her about the incident.
The matter was then reported to the police.
Judge Bird said she was told the accused had been remanded in custody since 14 June 2020 and he also has a pre-existing health condition.
She said it was confirmed in the accused’s medical report that he has diabetes and he is currently receiving medication for that condition.
A starting point of six years imprisonment was imposed but Judge Bird reduced the term by two years to reflect the mitigating features and the accused’s current medical condition.
The accused was left with four years imprisonment for each of the charges.
Judge Bird then ordered that both sentences to current concurrently meaning the accused will serve four years.
The time he spent in pre-trial custody was also ordered to be deduced from the total sentence.
Public Solicitor’s lawyer Lazarus Waroka represents the accused while Public Prosecutor Patricia Tabepuda appeared for the Crown.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN BONGIDANI