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Sentence Date Set For Man Who Raped Boy, 9

Sentence Date Set For Man Who Raped Boy, 9
December 07
11:00 2017

Twenty-two-year-old Mikaele Masi will be sentenced at the High Court in Suva on December 13 for raping a nine-year-old boy, on August 12, 2017.

State prosecutor Lavenia Bogitini submitted that there was a 13-year age gap between the accused who is deaf and the victim.

Masi is charged with one count each of sexual assault and rape.

Ms Bogitini requested judge Jus­tice Riyaz Hamza to consider the circumstances of offending – that the accused committed the offenc­es while the child was sleeping and was awoken by him.

She said there were no blood rela­tions between Masi and the child.

Ms Bogitini stated that the inci­dent happened at 10:30pm when the accused stayed over for the night at the victim’s house.

She submitted that Masi took ad­vantage of the child who was vul­nerable and defenceless at the time he knew everyone in the house was sleeping.

Ms Bogitini reiterated an aggra­vating factor was that there was a breach of trust by the accused.

She also told the court that there were facilities for persons living with disabilities at the Suva Re­mand Centre, however, there was none available in the prison facili­ties.

Masi’s lawyer Namrata Mishra said she had written to the Com­missioner of Corrections Service explaining her client’s situation and asked if there were special considerations for persons with disabilities.

However, she was yet to get a re­sponse.

In her client’s mitigation sub­missions, Ms Mishra stated that Masi was a single, deaf male who was not born with hearing defect, however contracted a fever when he was little which resulted in his hearing loss.

She said the accused’s father had passed away when he was young and was raised by his mother all his life.

Before being remanded, the ac­cused was unemployed and had been staying with his aunt and would help with the general up­keep of the home.

Ms Namrata said the accused had previously worked in a kava shop and would earn $80 to $100 a week.

She added that the accused was an avid rugby player who played for the Gospel School of Deaf Rug­by team.

Ms Namrata also said the accused represented Fiji on a national level and had been preparing to partici­pate at the World Cup and the Deaf Sports Olympics next year.

She said her client had entered an early guilty plea which saved the court’s time and taxpayer’s money and also spared the victim from fronting court to give evidence.

The court heard that Masi was a first offender and did not have any previous conviction which was ev­idence of his good character.

He was also remorseful and prom­ised not to reoffend, adding that he had made a bad decision and understood that what he did was wrong.

Justice Hamza will deliver his sentence next Wednesday.

Masi was further remanded in custody.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj

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