A SIXTY-ONE-year old grandfather will serve three years in prison for having sex with a girl below the age of 16 years.
The man, who has five children and 15 grandchildren, was charged with two counts of defilement of a young person between 13 and 16 years of age, the High Court in Suva heard. Judge Justice Paul Madigan said the accused claimed the girl was a willing partner and they had sex on numerous occasions at the instigation of the girl.
He said these claims were irrelevant to the offence.
The court heard on January 21 and May 3, 2010, the accused had sex with the girl, who was 15 years old. Justice Madigan said the girl was from the same settlement, had left school and was attending to domestic duties for her handicapped mother.
In mitigation, the accused said he wanted to care for the victim and the baby boy she had given birth to.
"Although the accused professes to be in love with the victim and wants to support her and her child, the court cannot condone the defilement of a 15-year old by a 61-year old neighbour," said Justice Madigan.
"It is unrealistic for the accused to believe that this could be a virtuous relationship."
"The evidence of the girl suggests otherwise.
"Although he is not in a position of trust, he is nevertheless an elder in the settlement who should be setting an example.
"He has known the victim for more than 12 years since she was small and unsurprisingly the assessors did not believe that he thought she was 17-year old."
Justice Madigan sentenced the man to three years imprisonment, with a two-year non-parole period.