Judge dismiss charges after victim recants sexual claims against her stepfather


Supreme Court Justice Fepulea’i Ameperosa Roma has dismissed charges against Olasa James Tito Tuiloma after the stepdaughter said the sexual claims against him were all lies.

He also ordered the Prosecution to refer this matter to the Police to consider appropriate charges, including misleading the Police.

The defendant was charged with incest and sexual connection. Still, earlier this month, when the matter was set for a hearing, the Prosecution sought to withdraw all four charges because the complaining witness recanted a detailed statement made to police on the 6th of September 2022, which formed the basis of the charges against Tuiloma.

His honors noted that the Prosecution produced a one-page statement dated the 1st of August 2023 in which the victim says that what she told police on the 6th of September 2022 were all lies.

Roma expressed concerns about the voluntariness of recanting her statement. The court called the complaining witness and inquired of the reasons under oath. She maintained that what she told police about the allegations and charges against the defendant were false.

His honors noted that he went back to the file and pointed out that the victim did not just make one statement to the police, and the details of the alleged sexual offending are explicit.

His honours found it most incredible that she would go into such detail regarding the allegations before simply recanting all in a brief statement.

However, he is not required to decide the victim’s credibility here, and the issue is whether there is a proper basis for the Prosecution to seek to withdraw the charges. Despite the court’s earlier concerns, he is satisfied that the Prosecution cannot proceed further with the charges, and the motion was granted.

However, before the matter was stood down, Roma expressed severe concerns about how this complaint was laid and how these charges had ended up in court. If the victim is correct, it is unfair that you have had to go through the criminal justice system for almost a year based on false accusations only for the charges to be withdrawn at this late stage.

On the other hand, this has been a complete waste of Police and Prosecution resources and the court’s time.

Accordingly, the Prosecution is directed to refer this matter to the Police to consider appropriate charges, including misleading the Police. In the interests of justice, his Honors lifted the suppression order on the publication of the identities of the defendant and the girl involved.