It is always incomprehensible to me how any man could think so little of a member of his own family as to treat them with so little humanity, says a High Court Judge.
Justice Stephen Pallaras made this comment when handing down a total sentence of 13 years imprisonment on the accused he found guilty of raping his 15-year-old niece.
“This is particularly so when even although that family member is a female child, that he could threat with such disrespect, contempt and cruelty.
“It is hard to imagine how this could have occurred without there being such dysfunction and indifference in the prisoner as to cause him to totally lose his moral and human compass.”
The complainant was the daughter of the accused’s sister.
The 36-year-old man from Malaita who cannot be named to protect the identity of his niece pleaded guilty to one the charge of assault causing actual bodily harm.
He denied the rape charge but was then found guilty by the court after a two days trial.
In relation to the rape incident, it occurred on an unknown date on November 2012 when the complainant was asleep in her bed at night.
The uncle came to the bedroom the complainant shared with his one year-old nephew and was armed with a 10cm knife.
The court heard the accused threatened to cut the complainant’s neck if she shouted and after taking off her clothes he raped her while holding the knife against her neck.
The accused then left the room by climbing out of the window of the bedroom.
Justice Pallaras said the use of the knife to hold against the complainant’s throat and threat to cut her throat is a serious offence.
“This certainly terrified her and robbed her of any capacity to resist.
“The age difference of 19 years is also significant, particularly when the complainant was only 15 years old at that time of the rape.”
The judge stated that every civilised community expects more of its adults.
“Every village expects more of its adults. Every family expects more of its adults.”
He said the example set by adults in small communities must inevitably impact upon the behaviour of the next generation and conduct such as this sets all of the wrong standards.
The accused on another date after raping the complainant strike her head with a hard blow using a torch, lacerating her scalp and caused her to bleed.
Justice Pallaras said this act further demonstrated the contempt in which he held and treated the complainant.
A one year imprisonment was imposed for the assault charge while 12 years imprisonment was handed down for the rape.
Both sentence were ordered to run consecutively and back dated to when the accused was taken into custody.
Public Solicitor’s lawyer Chris Rarumae represented the uncle while Crown Prosecutor Florence Joel appeared for the State.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN