By ELIZABETH VUVU
A HIGH school principal in New Ireland has been jailed for 15 years for raping a student at his school two years ago.
National Court judge Don Sawong jailed Robin Panu, 52, of New Ireland after finding him guilty of one count of rape and one count of sexual touching on two separate occasions in 2008.
The court heard that the offences occurred when Panu was headmaster of a high school and the victim was a Grade 10 student.
It was told that on Sept 7, 2008, the student was sent to Panu’s office to get betelnut and when she entered the office he locked his office doors and raped her.
He had also sexually touched the victim on a different occasion after the incident, the court sitting in Kavieng heard.
Sawong told Panu when sentencing him that there was nothing in his favour and that he had breached the trust that existed between him as the headmaster and among students, teachers and non-academic staff who looked upon him for guidance.
He said the headmaster had also betrayed the trust between teachers and students.
Sawong noted the big age difference between the principal and the victim.
He also noted that due to Panu’s not-guilty plea, the victim had to be brought into court and be publicly cross-examined by his lawyer, forcing her to re-tell her ordeal in court.
Sawong jailed Panu for 15 years – 12 years for rape and three for sexually touching. He had 18 months deducted for time spent in custody.