Uncle cops 16 years prison term for raping niece

A MAN who raped his 15-year-old niece has been jailed for 16 years by the High Court in Labasa.

The court was told that the man raped his niece on four separate occasions between 2017 and 2018 while she was staying with his family and attending school in Labasa.

The 48-year-old is the brother of the complainant’s mother.

The court was told that following the complainant’s father’s death, she went to stay with her uncle while attending school in Labasa.

The court also heard that the complainant was a Year 8 student when her uncle started abusing her sexually and this continued for nine months until she confided to a school friend when the incident came to light.

In passing sentence, Justice Daniel Goundar said the complainant’s trust was betrayed when she was sexually abused by her own uncle who was also her guardian.

He also considered the threats made by the accused if the complainant spoke of the abuse and the fact that an incident was witnessed by another child while the abuse was repeated and prolonged.

As aggravating factors, Justice Goundar said the physical and emotional harm done to the complainant was severe, adding that all those factors significantly aggravated the offences.

While considering the accused’s mitigating factor, Justice Goundar said there was very little evidence of remorse from the accused who was the father of a child, adding his only mitigating factor was his previous good character.

Justice Goundar added that the sentence represented the community’s disapproval of sexual abuse of children.

The man has to serve 11 years before he can apply for parole.

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