By ZEDAIAH KANAU
A 35-YEAR-OLD man found guilty of raping his six-year-old female relative was jailed for 15 years with hard labour by the Bomana National Court on Monday.
Acting judge Camillus Sambua jailed the Eastern Highlands man (name withheld to protect victim) after prosecutor Andrew Kaipu presented an indictment of sexual penetration in which the accused entered a guilty plea.
Kaipu submitted that since the girl had suffered injuries to her genitals which was supported by a medical report and that there was a significant age difference (29 years), the defendant needed to be jailed for 17 years.
The defence lawyer submitted for a sentence of five to 10 years, saying that the mitigating factors warranted a lesser sentence.
Justice Sambua said there were two circumstances of aggravation charged in the indictment – the child victim was under the age of 12 years and there was an existing relationship of trust, authority and dependence between the offender and the child.
He said the medical report had also confirmed bruising to the victim’s genitals.
Justice Sambua said the maximum penalty for an offence of this type was life imprisonment and, therefore, “a useful starting point is 20 years imprisonment”.
In mitigation, Justice Sambua took into consideration the accused was a first time offender, had surrendered and cooperated with police and had pleaded guilty.
The aggravating factors were that the victim was a blood relative, was a minor, the accused was in a position of trust and the prevalence of such cases in PNG.
Justice Sambua refused the man’s request for a partial suspension of the sentence, saying that he considered the offence a serious one which involved the violation of a young girl and the sentence had to also serve as a deterrent.
He then imposed a 15-year sentence and deducted three years 10 months, one week and four days for time spent in custody.
The man will serve a balance of 11 years, one month, two weeks and three days at Bomana.
The victim is the daughter of the man’s second cousin and they lived in the same house at a suburb in Port Moresby.
On Aug 12, 2017, between 6am and 7am, the man, who was drunk at the time, was at their house in Port Moresby when he saw the girl at their shower place.
He convinced the girl to a hill near a sports field and forced her to lay on the ground and raped her and then brought the girl back to the road and sent her home.
When the girl arrived home, her mother realised something was wrong and after checking her discovered that her private parts were swollen.
The girl told her mother what had happened and she was taken to the hospital before the matter was reported to police.
By ZEDAIAH KANAU