A man has been ordered to serve six years in jail after he admitted to raping his 14-year-old stepdaughter on two different occasions.
Jack Taiwia 32, was charged with four counts of sexual intercourse without consent contrary to section 90 and 91 of the Penal Code Act CAP 135.
Justice Dudley Aru said that Taiwia pleaded guilty to one count of sexual intercourse on March 1, 2017 and pleaded not guilty to three other counts.
Mr Aru said that at the commencement of the trial, the man’s lawyer asked for amended information and he admitted the other three remaining counts.
He said that the offending involves penile and digital penetration on the complainant.
“The complainant refers to the Defendant as her stepfather and she alleged that Taiwia had sexual intercourse with her when they were living at Bladiniere Estates,” he said.
“The first incident occurred around January 14 or 15, 2017”.
After the defendant committed the act he told her not to tell anyone about what just happened.
The second incident occurred in the laundry sometime also in January 2017 where the victim could not recall the exact date.
The victim then reported the matter to the house girl and later on January 22, 2017, she reported the incident to her adopted mother.
Taiwia was then arrested and on January 23, 2017 he was cautioned and interviewed. He admitted to digital rape on January 15, 2017 but denied any penile penetration.
On the second occasion he admitted to the latter.
During the sentencing the Judge told Taiwia that rape is a very serious offence as its maximum penalty is life imprisonment.
He said that it makes no difference whether fingers were used as opposed to penile penetration as it is defined by law.
“Raping a 14-year-old who looks up to you as the step father is not only humiliating but totally disgraceful and deserves to be condemned in the strongest of terms,” he said.
“Your offending is aggravated by the following factors; the offending was repeated on more than one occasion; there is an age disparity of 18 years; there is a breach of trust and the victim will be affected for the rest of her life.
“You are 32 years old and you were married to the legal guardian of the complainant although a divorce is still pending.”
The Judge said his Taiwia completed primary school at Ifira then completed year 7 to 10 at the Lycee LAB and undertook some community service course with the ‘NEXT Vanuatu’ and moved on to be an outstanding youth leader and faithful member of the Baha’i Faith.
The accused’s legal counsel said that Taiwia said that he is a first time offender with no previous criminal history and he cooperated with the Police in their investigations.
It was further submitted that he entered guilty pleas to all four counts and the court should deduct the full one third discount given that he did not understand the legal advice given by previous counsel.
“As a first time offender and for your cooperation with the Police I deduct one year reducing your sentence to nine years imprisonment,” he said.
“For your early guilty plea, your sentence is further reduced by one third to an end sentence of six years imprisonment.”
He then ordered the sentence to start on January 23, 2017 when Taiwia was first remanded in custody.