A 40-year-old man who raped a minor in a community hall at a settlement in Nabua about seven years ago has been sentenced to almost 14 years in jail by a high court in Suva.
High Court Judge Justice Rajasinghe sentenced the man, who is related to the victim’s stepfather, to 13 years and 11 months.
According to court records, the incident took place in the women’s restroom of a community hall in 2016. The victim was 12 years old at the time.
The victim did not disclose the incident until two years ago when she confided in her mother. During court proceedings, she explained that she had kept quiet about the incident because she was scared of the accused. In the years following the incident, her family observed her becoming more withdrawn, avoiding social events, and feeling uneasy whenever he was around.
While delivering the verdict about two weeks prior to the sentencing, Justice Rajasinghe said that the delay in reporting the incident had not undermined the credibility and reliability of the complainant’s evidence. He found her explanation for the delay to be satisfactory, compounded by her mother’s account of her withdrawn behavior.
The man is not eligible for parole until he has served 11 years and 11 months.