A 48-YEAR-OLD man who promised a family to use his witchcraft powers to heal their daughter has been sentenced to 16 years imprisonment for raping her instead.
The accused was charged with two counts of rape and convicted by judge Justice Paul Madigan in the High Court in Suva yesterday.
Justice Madigan sentenced the accused to 16 years on the first count and 13 years on the second count but to be served concurrently.
He will serve a minimum term of 14 years before being eligible for parole.
The man, who had earlier pleaded guilty to the charges, was yesterday sentenced by the court in his absence.
His jail term will begin when police apprehend him.
The facts of the case show the accused was introduced to the victim's family as someone who could help cure her back and leg which had been causing her chronic pain.
The accused claimed to have extraordinary powers of healing and demanded money from the family to buy a tanoa, a tabua and masi.
They never saw these purchases because the accused said if they saw them they would go blind.
The accused also told the family he saw someone put a curse on the 13-year-old girl and that her stomach was full of worms.
He then told the victim's parents to go to Suva Point and light 14 cigarettes one by one and then return home while he tried to cast away demons.
The court heard that he raped the girl week by week from 2005 to 2011.
It was until March 20, 2011, when the girl told her mother that the accused used a broken glass to cut her legs before raping her.
Sentencing the accused, Justice Madigan said in recent months, the community had become particularly aware of and censorious of the growing prevalence of rape, particularly rapes of children as young as nine months old.
He said it was for the courts in sentencing for this crime to show the community that crime of this nature would not go unpunished and heavy sentences would be meted out.