Man jailed over TC Yasa evacuation centre rape

A man in his early 20s who raped a 10-year-old girl at an evacuation centre in Vanua Levu during the height of Tropical Cyclone Yasa last year has been
sentenced to 14 years imprisonment.

According to court documents, the accused is the victim’s uncle and the incident at the evacuation centre was not the first. The first time he raped her was in 2015, at his home, when she was only six years old. They lived in the same settlement and he had invited her to his house.

The second time it happened on 30 December 2020, was at a school in Macuata that was used as an evacuation centre during TC Yasa. The victim was taking shelter at the school with her parents, She reported the incident to her mother who then reported it to police.

In sentencing the man at the high court in Labasa today, Justice Daniel Goundar considered the impact on the child, highlighting the counsellor’s report that noted that “the victim has been traumatised by the incidents of abuse.”

“Rape is a serious offence. It is an offence that attacks both the victim’s body and dignity. The offence can potentially cause serious psychological harm to the
victim. The seriousness of the offence is reflected in the maximum sentence of life imprisonment provided by the Crimes Act. It must be said that rape of a child is the most abhorrent. Children are the most vulnerable members of our community. The impact of sexual abuse committed on children, like in this case, is significant.”

The man will be eligible for parole after he has served 11 years behind bars. A permanent restraining order with standard non molestation conditions has also been issued against him for the protection of the complainant.

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