Uncle jailed in sex case


A 55-year-old man, convicted of indecent assault involving his 11-year-old niece has been sentenced to 13 months in jail.

Due to familial ties as the victim is the defendant’s brother’s daughter Supreme Court Justice Niavā Mata K. Tuatagaloa issued a suppression order in this case to protect the victim’s identity. Her honours noted the defendant appears for sentencing on one count of sexual conduct (indecent assault) with a child which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment.

According to the Police report the defendant was under the influence of alcohol on the night of the incident 23 October 2021. He entered the house and walked to where the victim was sleeping and touched her inappropriately.

Justice Tuatagaloa cited the age gap between the defendant and the victim of 44 years and the bigger the age gap between the victim and the accused, the more vulnerable the victim is and the higher the accused’s culpability is. Also the close familial relationship between the accused and the victim. Samoan society is all about family, immediate or distant.

Her honours noted although the accused has a prior conviction, his prior is not relatable or similar to the current offending the prior was committed more than ten years ago. The mitigating factors are the accused’s early guilty plea and his first offending status.

Although the offending was brief and the victim did not suffer any physical injuries, the age disparity and the close familial connection between the accused and the victim.