09 March 2019, Mulinuu Apia Samoa. A 31-year-old man from Vaiusu has been sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for dragging his 11 year old niece into a banana patch and sexually violating her while he was intoxicated.
The accused appeared for sentence before Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren on one charge of sexual connection with a child under 12 years, one charge of indecent act on a child and one charge of attempting to have sexual connection with a child.
According to the evidence, the accused was intoxicated and asked some kids to catch his niece and bring her to him. This occurred on the road sometime in the evening.
He then pulled his victim into a banana patch on the side of the road and forced her to do indecent acts to him before sexually violating her.
The evidence continues that he failed to rape his victim because “he was falling asleep”.
Justice Tuala-Warren agreed with the prosecution’s starting point of 12 years, and made no deductions “as there were no mitigating factors”.
The sentencing report confirms that Sikegi Stanley Samuelu expressed no remorse when given the opportunity to speak in Court. Divorced with 3 children who live with his ex-wife, Samuelu had worked for McDonalds Restaurant prior to the offending. He was living with his mother and his siter, who is the mother of the victim.
In delivering her sentence Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren reiterated the need to hold the accused accountable for the harm done to victims in such cases.
“In this case, there is a need to promote in him a sense of responsibility for, and an acknowledgment of that harm, and to provide for the interests of the victim who is very young, vulnerable and defenceless”, said Justice Tuala-Warren during sentencing.
Justice Tafaoimalo stressed an overriding need in Samoa to deter such offenses and to protect the community, especially our children, from such violent acts of sexual abuse adding that alcohol is no excuse for such behaviour.
“This is sadly another case of sexual offending committed within a family by a person with a close familial connection to the victim;
“The accused was intoxicated at the time of this offending. Again we see a case, as we often have, of alcohol-related offending. However alcohol is no excuse for this behaviour.”
Justice Tafaoimalo issued a name suppression order to protect the identity of the young victim.
“There will be an order permanently suppressing or prohibiting the publication of the name of the victim and any details that might identify her. The suppression order does not relate to the defendant.”
If you or someone you know is being sexually abused, please contact the Police Domestic Violence Unit on Ph: 22222 or Samoa Victim Support Group on Ph: 7576600 or 7576601 or Teen Challenge Samoa on Ph: 7595683 or 7576710.