By JACOB POK
A MAN was sentenced to 17 years in prison last Tuesday by the National Court in Kimbe for sexually penetrating his four-year-old granddaughter.
Amos Jonathan, 49, from Musuagen village, East Sepik province, was convicted of one count of engaging in an act of sexual penetration with a child under the age of 12 contrary to section 229a(2) of the Criminal Code.
The court heard that Jonathan committed the offence in early April last year.
Jonathan and his wife adopted the victim from their biological daughter and raised her.
The child, now six, testified during the trial and gave evidence of what Jonathan did to her.
However, Jonathan argued that his wife had forced the victim to testify against him.
He told the court that they separated sometime ago.
He claimed that his wife had committed adultery by sleeping with other men, and, therefore, he had left her and his wife made up the allegations against him because of the separation.
Although Jonathan denied committing the offence, the court found that evidences provided by State witnesses, the victim and medical reports proved beyond reasonable doubt that he was guilty as charged.
Justice David Cannings noted that the maximum penalty for such an offence is life imprisonment and the starting point was 20 years.
But after considering mitigating factors, the judge found that Jonathan was a first time offender and did not use any violence or cause any further harm to the victim during the cause of the incident.
The court also considered aggravating factors such as the large age difference, the breach of family trust and the fact that no consent was involved.
The court found that Jonathan did not express any remorse after being found guilty of the offence.
Justice Cannings, therefore, ordered Jonathan to serve a maximum sentence of 17 years in Lakiemata prison in Kimbe, West New Britain province.