NATION

Judge Tells Pastor: You Sexually Exploited Women

Pastor Iowane Vakadranu was told yesterday he had conditioned the minds of his victims systematically and then sexually exploited them. The judge, Justice Vincent Perera, made the remarks when he
06 Oct 2016 11:00
Judge Tells Pastor: You Sexually Exploited Women
Pastor Iowane Vakadranu appeared at the Suva high court yesterday.Photo:Vilimoni Vaganalau.

Pastor Iowane Vakadranu was told yesterday he had conditioned the minds of his victims systematically and then sexually exploited them.

The judge, Justice Vincent Perera, made the remarks when he sentenced Vakadranu to 14-year two months in prison for rape. He must serve 12 years, two months before he can be considered for parole. He was originally sentenced to 15 years, but he had been in remand for 10 months so it was reduced.

Justice Perera said: “You claim that you are a Pastor of a church you established in 2007. Both victims were members of this church during the time material to this case. The victim mentioned in the first three counts was around 18-years-old when you first raped her.

“The victim mentioned in the fourth count was around the age of 20 years at the time of offence. Both victims left their formal education when they were in Form 6 (Year 12) because you preached to them that the education in this world is corrupt.

“It is said that ‘education dispels the darkness of ignorance’. In my view, you persuaded your victims to leave their formal education as a part of your plan to thrive on their ignorance.

“You gave the two victims leadership roles in your establishment. You made them believe that you are their doctor.

“You preached to them that you are their spouse.

“Claiming that your teachings are based on the Holy Bible, you conditioned the minds of your victims systematically over a period of time so that they will believe in everything you say and do anything you would tell them to do without questioning.

“Finally, you isolated them from their families and took them to Labasa where you sexually exploited them. The victim who had been a member of your establishment from the age of 13 years, who remained deceived even at the time she gave evidence in this court; was raped by you on more than one occasion.”

Justice Perera said that the defence counsel Semi Tinivata had filed mitigation but the documents included certain contents that were not relevant and applicable to a submission in mitigation which he has disregarded.

Justice Perera said: “The fact that the victims were not threatened and the fact that there was no ejaculation cannot be considered as mitigating factors to reduce your sentence.

“Your counsel’s submission in that regard is misconceived.”

Vakadranu was charged for another matter in Nausori Court before Magistrate Chaitanya Latchman for five counts each of indecent assault.

He was acquitted of three counts of indecent assault and convicted of two counts.

Vakadranu was sentenced on Tuesday to 12 months in prison.

Edited by Maraia Vula

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