A MAN who indecently assaulted his niece will spend eight years behind bars for rape.
The unemployed accused was unanimously found guilty by the three assessors of raping his niece three years ago in Nasinu.
High Court judge in Suva Justice Salesi Temo, in sentencing the accused, said rape was a serious offence in Fiji and the fact that he had ruined his niece's life was unacceptable.
Justice Temo said although the 23-year-old accused had indecently assaulted the complainant, "his charge is now classified as rape under the Crimes Decree 2009".
The court heard that on the night of October 29, 2010, the accused came home drunk and raped his niece as she lay sleeping.
The complainant, a fourth former at the time, was living with her grandmother and five uncles.
Justice Temo said the accused knew the complainant was a hardworking student who valued her education.
"You have ruined the quality of her life and now she's living in fear.
"You will have to forfeit your liberty because you abused your position as her uncle to rape her.
"The fact that it was his niece and that he used his status as her uncle to override her will."
Justice Temo told the accused he was supposed to protect and help her, but instead overpowered her and assaulted her.
The judge sentenced the man to eight years with a non-parole period of seven years.