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Fiji High Court Judge Slams Society for Heinous Crime

I am getting tired of punishing people who are found guilty of raping children, Justice Temo adds.
05 Jun 2019 14:31
Fiji High Court Judge Slams Society for Heinous Crime
High Court Judge Justice Salesi Temo.

Something is wrong with our society, remarked High Court Justice Salesi Temo during the sentence hearing of a 25-year-old man convicted for raping a six-year-old child.

“I am getting tired of punishing people who are found guilty of raping children. The court has been dishing out harsh sentences to deter would be defenders but these cases keep coming in front of the courts,” Justice Temo said.

“Is there something our religious leaders and talatalas are not doing right? This is also part of the teachings in morality, which the religions are supposed to be doing. No individual at the age of six would like to be raped by their 23-year-old neighbour.”

The accused pleaded guilty at the beginning of the trial to abducting a six-year-old child from the settlement he was living in and raping the child in 2017.

Justice Temo asked State prosecutor, Lavenia Bogitini, on what the maximum sentence should be as the crime was heinous.

He said Fijian society was such that there were six and seven-year-olds running around in most neighbourhoods and the sentence should be such that a clear message is sent to adults who have a mind to commit such crimes.

Ms Bogitini submitted that the court should look at a maximum sentence of 14 to 16 years. The same question was posed to the defence lawyer who was asked to place herself in the shoes of a parent who had children of the same age as the victim.

The defence submitted that 12 years should be the maximum sentence, but agreed with Justice Temo that the maximum sentence should be considered for the offence.

“Most of us are parents. This is a nightmare for many to have to think that such people exist within the society,” he said.

“I have heard both the defence and prosecution on their submissions on the sentence, but it is entirely upon the court to consider the sentence.”

The accused will be sentenced today.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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