A man who claimed to be a healer was sent to prison for raping a young woman who was lured to a secluded area after being enticed with the promise of a healing miracle.
Tom Nakou of Tanna was sent to prison for four years and five months after he admitted the offence earlier this year.
Nakou was sentenced on one count of sexual intercourse without consent, contrary to sections 90 and 91 and theft, against section 122 (a) both of the Penal Code Act CAP 135.
Nakou also stole her mobile phone and forced the victim to pay him.
The brief facts are that the victim was 22 years old when the offence occurred and she is originated from Paama Island.
Nakou is a Tannese and on May 25, 2015 he met the complainant at Number 2 area, Port Vila and she was sick at the time and the defendant offered some healing prayers and told her to follow him.
Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek said that Nakou lured the complainant to a secluded area behind Freshwater 6 area after lying to her that he is a prayer warrior and that he could pray for the complainant and assured her of complete healing.
Nakou told the victim to give him all the cash she had on her and her phone.
The victim stated in her statement that she believed what the defendant was saying so she gave her mobile phone and VT1,200.
“You then asked her whether she was born into this world with clothes or naked and whether she will have clothes or not when she departs earth (death),” Chief Justice Lunabek said.
“She replied ‘naked’.
“You then told her that you would pray and while you pray, she should remove her clothes.
“She refused but you told her that if she wanted God to heal her, she must comply with what you asked of her otherwise she would die as her life hangs by a thread.
“As you prayed, she removed her underwear.
“She kept her shirt and skirt and you then told her to lie on a rock.”
And that was when the man raped her and the Chief Justice said the victim did not want to have sex with him but she was afraid she would die as he said her life was hanging by a thread.
After Nakou was satisfied he told the victim to take the lead and walk towards the road.
She walked a few meters and when she turned around, Nakou already disappeared with her phone and money.
She went home and reported the matter to her relatives and that was when Nakou was arrested.
Nakou admitted to having sex with the complainant and lying to her and also agreed with the fact that he stole her mobile phone and her money.
Aggravating features highlighted in this case revealed that Nakou took advantage of a vulnerable woman who was sick and needed help. She trusted him to be a man of prayer to heal her from her sickness.
He lured her to a secluded area away from public eyes where the offence took place; including the nature and degree of the deception on the complainant.
The sexual intercourse was unprotected and the complainant was vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy and there was a degree of planning.
“I fix seven years imprisonment as the starting sentence and I assess six months imprisonment for the theft of the mobile phone and cash of VT1,200 to be served consecutively and your sentence is further increased to seven years and six months imprisonment,” he said.
“You are not a first time offender. You have previous convictions on similar types of offence according to the Correctional Services Department records.
“Your sentence is further increased by 6 months to reflect that factor your total head sentence is eight years imprisonment as your starting point sentence.”
After considering the mitigation factors the Judge reduced the sentence to an end sentence of four years and five months as the end sentence.
The sentence was backdated from January 22, 2019 when Nakou was first remanded.