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Samoa’s Supreme Court Justice condemns increased sexual violence against children

Apia, SAMOA — A Supreme Court Senior Justice in Samoa has decried the continued increase in sexual offences targeting young children, despite efforts to increase court-imposed penalties for offenders.

Senior Justice Vui Clarence Nelson was commenting as he sentenced a 20-year-old man to 12 years in jail for raping an 11-year-old girl, who is part of his extended family.

The accused was sentenced last month after he was found guilty of rape and four sexual connection charges.

Justice Nelson said instead of protecting his female family member, the defendant sought to prey on the young girl.

Justice Nelson handed down 12 years for the charge of rape and a five-year sentence for sexual connection, to be served concurrently.

"These are obviously extremely serious offences young man, and they carry a hefty penalty by law," Senior Justice Vui told the defendant.

Justice Nelson made it clear that the Court must hold people who commit this kind of offence on young girls accountable for their actions.

"… and the penalty must deter the offender from repeating this kind of conduct and send a message to other men and young males of Samoa of the consequences of this kind of behaviour," he added.

"I do not have to tell you that every young Samoan male knows his traditional duty is to protect his younger siblings in particular the females of the family from harm, this extends to the females of your extended families.

"Instead of this protection the defendant sought to prey on this young girl."

He added the court also cannot overlook the fact that this offence was committed in the family home, a place where all young children, including the complainant, are entitled to feel safe, secure and protected.

The defendant had time deducted to reflect his age during the time of the offending.

(Source: RNZ Pacific)