A former worker inside Pacific Dawn has been ordered to serve five years and eight months imprisonment after he was found guilty of raping a co-worker during their employment in the P&O Cruise liner ‘Pacific Dawn’.
Noel Isaac was sentenced to a count of sexual intercourse without consent contrary to section 89 and 90 of the Penal Code Act CAP 135.
Justice Daniel Fatiaki said the offence is one of the most serious offences in the Penal Code that carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment like premeditated intentional homicide, which is the intentional killing of a human being.
Justice Fatiaki said that Noel and the victim were then crew members of the ship and he raped her when he was about to disembark from the ship and that forced her to leave the ship as well and did not return to duties after being traumatized by the incident.
He said that the court in its verdict accepted the victim’s sworn testimony over his sworn denial.
He said that the court was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Noel trespassed into the victim’s cabin on the morning of December 6, 2017 and despite her pleas, he overcame her resistance and had full sexual intercourse with her without her consent shortly before he disembarked.
He said that shortly the victim disembarked and once comfortable, she relayed the matter to her family members and her husband.
Informing her boss for leaving the ship, the victim reported the matter but police had to halt the investigation awaiting the ship’s next visit to get the CCTV footages and onboard cabin photographs.
The victim filed a police caution statement on February 6 2018.
The judge said that upon Noel’s conviction, the court ordered a pre-sentence report that disclosed the defendant is originally from Sulfur Bay village on Tanna but is residing in Tagabe in Port Vila.
Noel attended White Sand Ianamakel Primary School and later Isangel Junior Secondary School but could not complete his studies due to lack of school fees.
Noel is 35 years-of-age and was living in a de-facto relationship with three children – he is the sole breadwinner at home.
The court was also told that Noel has attended training and has cooking skills which he freely utilizes during community functions.
Noel is a respectful and useful member of his community and is a first-time offender, the Court was told.
Justice Fatiaki said that Noel tearfully told the probation officer that he felt sorry for what he did and promised he will never offend again in the future – he was deeply remorseful.
Noel was remanded for four months from February 6 to June 5, 2018 before he was released on bail.
Before handing Noel his sentence, the court took into consideration how the complainant had lost his only means of earning money and how unsafe and fearful in the company of strange men and is easily distracted and has lost interest in doing her housework.
The court was told that the woman’s relationship with her husband has deteriorated and he no longer trusts her to be alone and no longer agrees for her to go out and work on her own.
The victim also told the court that after the incident, she felt ashamed and concern as she is a mother and fear that people will gossip about her.
The Judge adopted seven years imprisonment as a starting point but deducted one year for mitigating factors including his unblemished past and community works leaving six years.
He further reduces four months for the time spent in custody leaving an end sentence of five years and eight months imprisonment to be served behind bars.
The Judge then backdated the sentence to September 28, 2018.