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SUVA, Fiji Islands (November 15, 1999 – Fiji Broadcasting Corporation)---Australian national Mark Lawrence Mutch was given a seven-year jail sentence today after being found guilty on Friday of pedophilia, Radio Fiji reports.

This is the first ever conviction for pedophilia in the Fiji Islands.

And a Suva High Court judge, Justice Davendra Pathik, has turned down a verbal application for bail, pending appeal by Mutch's lawyer, Mehboob Raza.

Raza was told to apply in writing and state clearly his grounds for bail, pending appeal.

Mutch was found guilty on two counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault.

He was served with two 7-year sentences for rape and four years each for indecent assault. However, the sentences will be served concurrently, which means Mutch will only serve a total of seven years.

Justice Pathik told a packed court that in his 42 years in the legal field, it was the first case of pedophilia that he has come across and a first for Fiji.

He says the case sent shock waves throughout the country, as it was not heard of before.

Pathik says this kind of activity should be nipped in the bud before it spreads like a cancer.

Between 1990 and 1997, Mutch lured school children, mostly primary school girls, to his home and sexually assaulted them and took photos of them.

Mutch was arrested when Victorian Police recovered the photos on the Internet in Australia.

Title -- 2451 JUSTICE: Australian jailed for Fiji child rapes Date -- 16 November 1999 Byline – None Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, 15/11/99 Copyright – FBC Status – Unabridged

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PASIFIK NIUS service is provided by the niusedita via the Journalism Program, University of the South Pacific.

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