Taxi Driver Jailed for Sexual Connection with Girl Under 16

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A taxi driver from Matautu Lefaga has been jailed for unlawful sexual connection with a 15 year old girl he had picked up along the road in December 2018.

The Court heard that the young girl was on the way to exercise at around 6.30am in the morning when Fidelis Eti Ken stopped his taxi and asked her to come with him for a ride.

In deliverying the sentence, Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke said the actions of the defendant were premeditated, he picked up the young girl with a plan to engage in sexual acts  with her. The age disparity and the vulnerability of the victim were aggravating factors, and the he had abused his position as a taxi driver, one that should be trusted when providing a service to the public.

Fidelis Eti Ken had left school after Year 12. He was also married, with one daughter.

The taxi driver stopped and asked the victim to join him for a ride to Motootua, to run an errand. The victim told the Court that he drove past the turn to Motootua, saying he needed to stop at KK Mart but when they drove past the store, he told her that he needed to go to a family at Taumeasina.

Fidelis then took the young girl to an isolated location at Taumeasina so they could ‘evaeva’. The Court heard that a lady had come asking for car park money which the defendant paid.

After engaging in sexual intercourse with the victim, he then told her to wait there while he goes to buy some softdrinks for them.

Fidelis never returned. The victim told the Court that the taxi driver abandoned her there. Some children and the woman who had earlier received money from the Fidelis walked by and found her crying. She helped her and they called her parents to come and get her.

Justice Leiataualesa adopted a three year starting point for sentencing, which had also been the recommendation of Prosecution.

There were no mitigating factors but the Court considered the piror good character references,  and the reconciliation between the family of the accused and the victim.

The defendant has been sentenced to two years and two months imprisonment less the time he has been remanded in custody.