Man gets 10 for sex with underage girl

The High Court of Solomon Islands.
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CHIEF Justice Sir Albert Palmer has sentenced a man to 10 years imprisonment for having sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 15 years.

Sir Albert in his sentencing on Tuesday this week, reiterated that the courts have a duty to protect the weak and vulnerable members of the society, a fortiori, children of tender age, by ensuring that an immediate custodial sentence is imposed in this type of offending, and that a clear message is sent out to the community that those who commit this type of offence must expect a lengthy custodial sentence.

“Each case however has to be determined on its own merits and an appropriate sentence imposed that balances the elements of retribution, deterrence, prevention and rehabilitation,” Sir Albert said.

The accused on this case was charged with two counts of sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 15 years, in incidents which occurred in 2019.

He entered guilty pleas on both counts when he was asked by the court in March this year.

Sir Albert said the defendant is an elderly man at the age of some 64 years old at the time of commission of the offence and given their age difference between them is 54 years, the accused’s actions were both disgraceful and selfish.

“As an elderly member in the community, he had failed to demonstrate responsibility and trust towards the victim; instead, he took advantage of her vulnerability and abused his position. No doubt his actions would have corrupted her innocence and dignity as a child and would have caused needless distress and trauma. Whatever emotional, psychological and physical harm may have been caused will take a long time to heal,” Sir Albert said.

He also said the offence is repeatedly committed which demonstrates the element of intentional and deliberate behaviour.

“It was not a one off or, spur of the moment incident, committed at a momentary loss of self-control. As an elderly and mature old man, he should have known better. I am satisfied this attracts another one-year increase to 13 years,” Sir Albert said.

Sir Albert also considered the man’s early guilty plea which shows his remorse and faced up to the consequences of his action, the court reduce the sentence by 2 years to I l years.

“Taking all his mitigating factors into account, I deduct a further I year from the sentence, leaving a total of 10 years to be served. I am satisfied taking into account the totality principle, count 2 should be made to run concurrent to count 1,” Sir Albert said.