The National, Wednesday July 1st, 2015
SENIOR magistrate Cosmas Bidar has been around the Papua New Guinea court circuit long enough to realise that “something has gone wrong with our society”.
He has revealed that sexual penetration cases or rapes involving under-aged girls by family members have become frequent in court.
The Waigani Committal Court magistrate lamented the abuse when withdrawing a sexual penetration case against a man from Angoram, East Sepik, last week.
The case was withdrawn because the complainant asked for it on the grounds that it was to be dealt with out of court and the accused was the family’s bread winner.
The victim had been adopted by the accused and his wife and the alleged offence took place when she was 15.
Bidar deferred three cases of sexual penetration of girls ranging from four years to 10 years to next month.
“We have so many cases coming through this court. Almost every day we have cases of sexual penetration of under-aged girls or minors. These allegations are mostly from family members.”
Bidar heard how a grandfather allegedly sexually penetrated a 10-year-old girl in Port Moresby. Two other Port Moresby cases he heard were those of a seven-year-old and four-year-old, both sexually penetrated by adult men.
And yesterday, the magistrate committed an elderly man to stand trial in the National Court for sexually penetrating his adopted daughter in 2013. The girl was a grade 7 student at the time of the alleged offence.
The defence lawyer applied to the court to withdraw the case because the girl was now the defendant’s wife and her biological father had been paid bride price of K11,000 and four pigs.
Bidar rejected the lawyer’s argument, saying: “In the court’s view there is sufficient evidence against the defendant to warrant him to stand trial.”
These cases show an alarming trend, which confirm Bidar’s grave concern.
Something is terribly wrong with our society when it starts to produce men who act like dogs and rape very young girls. In countries that still uphold the “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” law, such people would be castrated and relegated to the status of animals.
However, in this so-called Christian country, they are given the benefit of being “innocent until proven guilty”.
If found guilty by the courts, they will only serve jail terms and are then released back into society where they are free to commit a similar crime again.
These monsters will never understand the physical and emotional damage they have caused to these young girls.
And no money or pigs can compensate for such damage.
In the same vein, Bidar has warned that having sex with girls under 16 years is an offence, even if there is consent.
The magistrate sounded the warning last Friday when committing a man accused of sexually penetrating a girl to stand trial in the National Court.
“Whether the girl agreed to be involved in sexual intercourse does not make a difference. The concern is age.”
Bidar has brought up an issue that is not uncommon in our society today. Consensual sex with under-aged girls is reportedly increasing, especially in cities like Port Moresby and Lae where the demand for fast and easy money outweighs morality and ethical behaviour.
In these cities, girls under 16 are offering sex to “sugar daddies” for quick cash to maintain their lifestyles, however superficial that may be. Many of these girls are still in school and some even come from well-to-do homes.
As the good magistrate warned, consensual sex with under-aged girls is an offence in this country and those found guilty will face the appropriate penalties.
Unlike sexual penetration cases involving minors, cases of consensual sex with girls under 16 years are not readily reported to the police.
As the act of sexual intercourse was by consent, the offenders walk away after the deal is done. In fact, it is a simple business arrangement whereby the service provider is paid on the spot.
Nonetheless, PNG society must not condone such immoral and unethical behaviour.
All right-thinking citizens have a duty to report suspected offences to the police and other authorities for prosecution.