A TEENAGER accused of raping his cousin sister and impregnated her in 2018 has been sentenced to one year imprisonment, Monday.
The young man who cannot be named for legal reasons committed the offence when he was only 16 years old.
The victim was 13 years old at that time.
Principal Magistrate Augustine Aulanga said the accused preyed or capitalised on the victim’s vulnerability along the road, knowing that she was unable to resist his sexual assault on her.
He said the accused is related to her as her first cousin brother.
“In other words he is the brother of the victim,
“Hence a very close family member, he is entrusted to respect and protect the victim and not to sexually abuse her in this way,” Aulanga added.
He said the accused destroyed that trust she had on him as her first cousin brother,
Aulanga said another aggravating factor he found is that, from the offending the victim became pregnant prematurely when she was only 13 years old and that she was still in primary school.
“The accused’s action also terminated her school prematurely as well.
“He gave her a child without her consent and certainly without prior planning.”
Aulanga further added that the victim became pregnant as a result of the unwanted sexual intercourse brought upon her by the accused.
He said the accused deprived her the right of choosing a suitable boyfriend and eventually a husband.
“No doubt, his actions had brought her shame and ridicule and she is going to live with the effects of what he had done to her for the rest of her life.”
Before imposing the sentence, Aulanga considered the accused’s early guilty plea, he is a juvenile, he is a first time offender and because of the incident he could not complete his grade six primary education.
Aulanga also considered the issue of delay on this matter.
He said about 20 months has been taken to finalise this case and much of this delay is attributed by conduct relating to the management of this case unattributed to the accused’s fault.
He said from 21 November 2018 to 8 January 2019, this matter was dealt with progressively at the Central Magistrate’s Court.
On 8 January 2019 the matter was committed to the High Court.
Aulanga said this matter took almost 16 months before an order was made on 6 May 2020 by the High Court to remit the matter to the Magistrate’s Court for continuity of hearing.
“The delay to have this matter finalised for the juvenile offender is unreasonable and inordinate.
“It offends his right to have his matter tried within a reasonable time.”
He said in light of this delay, the accused must be given a full benefit of this delay and this will significantly mitigate his sentence.
Aulanga imposed a starting point of two and a half years imprisonment but then had it reduced by 18 months.
This leaves the accused with only one year to serve in prison.
The reduction was made to reflect the delay, the mitigating factors and that he is a juvenile at the time of the offending.
The time the accused spent in custody was also taken into account.
Public Solicitor’s lawyer Rodney Manebosa represented the accused while Public Prosecutor John Wesley Zoze appeared for the Crown.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN