Former Tanna school principal acquitted from rape charge

A former school principal has been acquitted after the court found that the female student he had a sexual relationship with failed to call out during the offence by considering his position as a ‘bigman’.

Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek acquitted the former school principal after the trial in the recent Tafea court circuit.

The student who could not be named for safety reason accepted that she voluntarily undressed prior to the offending with the principal.

There was a failed attempt of offending earlier on a July celebration in Middle Bush, Tanna, but evidence showed that the victim called the principal to drive her with her family to the celebration.

She denied being in a ‘girl and boyfriend’ relationship with the defendant.

She agreed that after the offence with the principal, the deputy principal came knocking on the door asking the school truck to take a sick student to the hospital.

She accepted that she stayed in the principal’s room until he came back from the hospital and stayed with him until 4am in the next day.

Another girl was sleeping in the other room and the victim woke her up and they went down to the dormitory.

“She accepted another girl was with her at the time of the sexual intercourse with the defendant at the time and she agreed not to mention her presence to the police because she was afraid Madeleine would know,” Chief Justice said.

The victim also accepted that the school rules do not accept the relationship between students and teachers.

And when it was put to her that when the defendant and his wife approached a pastor to tell her to cease calling the principal but she kept on calling and this time she admitted that she was drunk and was forced by her friends to call him.

The nurse who examined the victim said that the victim allegedly suffered from a sexual transmitted disease.

And after reading through the evidence of the nurse, Chief Justice said that the medical report was not conclusive and could not sustain the case.

The defense was given the chance to make any submission at the end of the prosecution case and they asked the case to be dismissed.

Chief Justice Lunabek then dismissed the case.

Meanwhile the case alleged that the defendant raped the student while being a school principal and that led to the demotion and suspension of the defendant.

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