BY JENNIFER KUSAPA
A MAN who indecently assaulted a six-year-old child early this year in Honiara was sent to four months in prison, yesterday.
This was after the accused, who cannot be named for legal reasons due to his close connection to the child’s family, pleaded guilty before Principal Magistrate Felix Hollison.
Sending the accused to jail, Magistrate Hillison said:
“Sexual violence and offending is prevalent in the country at a startling rate.
“The courts must not be complacent but to apply the law consistently and fairly at all times to protect everyone from all walks of life from sexual exploitation.”
Hollison pointed out that the amendments to the Penal Code [Cap 26] in 2016 by Parliament through the enactment of the Penal Code Sexual Offences Amendment Act 2016, is a legislative response to the general perception.
“The courts had been issuing very lenient sentences on sexual offences as echoed by various stakeholders and substantiated by data collected by government agencies, such as the Law Reform Commission which was also judicially noted by the appellate courts.
“It is my judicial role to align my sentences to the core objectives of the Penal Code Sexual Offences Amendment Act 2016 in order.
“This is to provide greater protection against sexual violence and exploitation, especially for the vulnerable children such as the victim who is only 6 years old,” Hollison said.
In his sentencing submission, lawyer for the accused asked the court to consider his client’s health status as a mentally unstable person.
Hollison initially imposed a 10-month jail term, but suspended six months for 24 months – meaning the defendant would only serve four months in jail.