A former Fiji 7s rep is serving time in prison for raping his former partner’s niece in the victim’s own home a little over three years ago.
Noa Nawaqarua, 47, who featured for Fiji in the International Rugby Board 7s Series (Now known as the World Rugby 7s Series) in 2004 and 2005 was recently jailed for eight years over the events that happened on boxing day 2019.
The victim, who is in her twenties, is the niece of the woman with whom Nawaqarua was in a de-facto relationship at the time.
The incident happened during a drinking party at the victim’s residence. The event was attended by the woman’s father, brother, and Nawaqarua, who had been invited along with friends. According to court records, a significant amount of alcohol was consumed by all present until the early hours of December 26, 2019. At some point, the victim lost consciousness and drifted off to sleep, during which Nawaqarua raped her.
When he was confronted by witnesses, he blamed alcohol for his conduct.
During the trial, the court rejected his argument that the victim consented to sex citing the state she was in that she was “not in a capacity to freely and voluntarily consent to sex.”
Sentencing Nawaqarua in a high court in Suva, Justice Daniel Goundar said he was aware that she was heavily intoxicated and he took advantage of the situation. Justice Goundar made it clear that alcohol cannot justify or excuse criminal actions. He further pointed out that Nawaqarua’s actions constituted a breach of trust, as the victim’s family had welcomed him due to his relationship with her aunt. However, he violated this trust by taking advantage of her vulnerable state.
Justice Goundar told Nawaqarua that the crime “marked a fall from grace for” him.
Nawaqarua is not eligible for parole until he has served six years behind bars.