Uncle sentenced to 19 years in jail for rape


A man convicted of raping his eight-year-old niece over a period of nine months was recently sentenced by the Supreme Court to 19 years in jail.

The 38 years old defendant is the victim’s uncle and was sentenced on 12 charges of rape. 

Sentencing was handed down by Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren in June. Her honours ordered permanently suppressing the publication of the name of the victim and any details that might identify her.

The suppression order does not relate to the defendant, however, the judgement outlines the name of the defendant as P.P.  

According to the sentencing and judgement recently handed down, the defendant claims he was mainly under the influence of alcohol during the sexual incidences. 

He told Probation that he would prey upon the victim by being close to where she slept at night and would use every opportunity to sexually violate her.

“The victim is now 11 years old and says that because she did not know how to react, she thought this was normal within families because of the multiple times he did this to her.”

Justice Tafaoimalo says the age of the victim and the impact of the offending on her, her vulnerability, the age gap between, the familial relationship and gross breach of trust are all aggravating features of the offending. 

She is a child who had been forced to have sex multiple times over a period of nine months. “This is deplorable at the highest level. “Those 9 months would have been terrifying and extremely traumatic for this child.”

The Judgement says the accused admitted to preying on the victim “by ensuring he was close to where she slept so he could have sex with her.

“This predatory behaviour is an aggravating factor. It also suggests a high level of premeditation which is another aggravating factor. “There is a need to hold the accused accountable for the harm done to the victim, to promote in him a sense of responsibility for, and an acknowledgement of that harm, and to provide for the interests of the victim.

There is also an overriding need to deter the accused and others from committing the same or similar offences and to protect the community from the accused.”

The prosecution has submitted that a starting point for imprisonment should fall within 19 years to life or 25 years and Defence Counsel submitted this offending fell within 8-10 years. 

However, Justice Tafaoimalo assesses the defendant’s culpability to be very high and having considered all the circumstances, and in particular, having regard to the aggravating features relating to this offence places the offending of rape band four of 19 years to life imprisonment where there is multiple and repeat family offending, and aggravating features at a serious level.

Justice Tafaoimalo led with 32 years imprisonment as the starting point for the sentence. “I deduct 3 years for his previous good character and one year for his apology and remorse. I deduct 9 years for his early guilty pleas. “I consider the totality of offending where I am imposing sentences of imprisonment for two or more offences so that the individual sentences reflect the seriousness of each offence.”

For each count of rape, the accused is convicted and sentenced to 19 years imprisonment, to be served concurrently.