Father of 5 Ordered To Serve Term Behind Bars Over Sexual Assault of Stepdaughter

A father of five sentenced to 35 months in prison after he sexually assaulted his stepdaughter at their home in a village in Labasa will serve his term behind bars.

A high court in Labasa sentenced the 32-year-old man to two years 11 months imprisonment, a term which “may be suspended in the appropriate circumstances set out in section 26 of the Sentencing and Penalties Act” given that it is below three years.

However, High Court Judge Justice Usaia Ratuvili ruled that based on the circumstances of the case, including that it was a domestic violence offense, and the long-lasting impact on the victim, who was 12 at the time, and the family who treated him as a father and relied on him as the breadwinner, it was not appropriate to suspend the sentence.

The man will serve 20 months before he can be considered for parole.

The incident happened when the victim was sleeping at their home between 21 December 2021 and 27 December 2021. The court heard that the man only stopped when the victim’s mother walked into the house. She shouted at him, chased him away, and reported the matter to the police.

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