A 36-year-old father has pleaded guilty to 41 charges of sexual connection in an incident involving his biological daughter.
The defendant appeared before Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke.
The defendant is scheduled to be sentenced on 15 March 2018.
He is represented by lawyer, Arthur Lesā, while prosecution is lawyer Lucy Marie Sio, of the Attorney General’s Office.
Justice Leiataualesa issued a suppression order against the victim and the defendant as well, given their relationship.
The offence started in 2013 and continued for four years. According to the Police summary of facts, the victim is a 15-year-old from one of the villages in the Faleata District.
“The incidents occurred at the home of the defendant and the victim,” said Ms. Sio.
“The mother of the victim works from 8pm to midnight and this is why she was never around during the time of the incidents.
“When the first incident occurred, the victim was 13 years old.
“In between January 1st, and January 30th, 2013, around 10pm, the victim was sleeping with her other relatives inside a mosquito net.
“While she was sleeping, she felt someone touching her legs and this woke her up and she asked who it was.
“The defendant covered the victim’s mouth and told her not to make noise.
“He came out of the mosquito net and asked the victim why she doesn’t want him to touch her and the victim told the defendant that what he’s doing was bad.
“This was in 2013 and it continued on until December, where the defendant sexually harassed the victim eight times on different occasions.
“In 2014, the defendant sexually harassed the victim 10 times by using his finger.
“The offense continued from January to September, 2014.
“In 2015, the defendant sexually harassed the victim 12 times on different occasions and in 2016 he sexually harassed the victim 10 times on different occasions and it continued to the year 2017.”
Ms. Sio said the matter was brought to light on January 4th, 2018.
“On January 4th this year, the victim had a dispute with one of her younger siblings and at that time, the younger sibling threatened the victim that she was going to tell all that the defendant had done to her,” she said.
“On the next day, family members found out about the matter and they reported it to the Police.
“The defendant pleaded guilty and he has faced 41 charges of sexual connection with a victim under 16 years old.
“The maximum penalty is 14 years imprisonment and he is a first offender.”
During the Prosecution’s final submission, they took into consideration the close relationship between the defendant and the victim.
“He is the biological father of the victim, however he took advantage of his position as a father,” said Ms. Sio.
“He breached that trust the victim had for him, where he is supposed to keep her safe.
“Another fact is that the incident occurred within the comfort of their home, a place where the victim is supposed to be feeling safe and protected, but instead she has gone through something horrible.
“It also shows that the defendant had planned this well, he waited for everyone to go to sleep and for his wife to go to work then he does this.
“He had done this for four years and if the victim and her younger sibling didn’t get into an argument, he would’ve still continued doing what he does to her up until now.
“Therefore your honour, prosecution has proposed a starting point for sentencing and imprisonment from five years.”
Mr. Lesa asked the Court to be lenient with the defendant because he is remorseful.
“He entered a guilty plea on the first attempt,” said Mr. Lesa.
“He has also asked for a chance to say something in Court to show that he is very sorry for what he had done.”
An opportunity was given to the defendant to speak and he apologised to the Court for what he did.
“I am very remorseful and I hope that I would be forgiven for what I did and hopefully I get the chance to reunite with my daughter and move on.”