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Rapist’s Eight-Year Term Affirmed By Supreme Court

Rapist’s Eight-Year Term Affirmed By Supreme Court
May 26
13:03 2018

 

An ex-Police Officer who raped his biological sister had his sentence of eight-years imprisonment with a non-parole period of seven years affirmed, after his appeal was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Fiji.

The accused was convicted of rape on July 17, 2012, at the Nasinu Magistrates Court and on January 25, 2013, he was sentenced to eight years imprisonment.

His sentence was partially suspended to be served in the community, with weekends in prison.

When the accused’s sentence was appealed to the High Court, a modified head sentence of 17-years imprisonment was imposed with a non-parole period of 15-years.

However, the Court of Appeal reduced the accused’s sentence back to eight years imprisonment after recognising that the High Court was confined to a sentence within the limited powers of the Magistrates Court.

In the Supreme Court judgment it was stated that the High Court cannot substitute a Magistrate’s Court sentence with one which only the High Court can impose.

If trial had taken place in the High Court than the tariff would have been between seven to 15-years imprisonment.

Facts of the case

The facts of the case were that the accused was celebrating a Police Rugby match win with his friends on the day of the incident.

Celebrations had been on-going for some time and it was not disputed that the accused was very drunk. He was 32-years-old at the time while his sister was 22.

During the celebrations he heard rumours that his sister was involved in a lesbian relationship and after hearing about this he summoned her to his home.

He questioned her about the relationship and she denied it.

He then told her that he would “do something to her to make her forget she was a lesbian.”

She attempted to run away from him and ran outside onto the street in plain sight of his neighbours and drinking friends.

The accused chased her and caught her and put her in so much fear that she lost control of her bladder and bowels.

The Court heard that the accused took her back into the house while his wife was there and made her clean herself up after which he kept her in a locked bedroom over a period of three hours while he subjected her to sexual indignities and rape.

His wife was in an adjacent room the whole time.

In his evidence the accused said he was too drunk to remember the details of what transpired but he remembered having sex with someone.

However he could not remember who he was having sex with.

In a Judgment delivered by the Supreme Court it was ruled that the sentence imposed by the Magistrates Court was unlawful and not permitted by virtue of Section 26 (2) (b) of the Sentencing and Penalties Act.

“The circumstances of this crime were shocking and appalling. The offending should have been met with condign punishment and marked society’s firm rebuke,” the Supreme Court said.

The court refused the accused’s application for leave to appeal and his petition was dismissed accordingly. Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

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