FIJI RAPIST SEEKS TO MITIGATE SENTENCE BY APOLOGY

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SUVA, Fiji (FijiSUN, Aug. 31) - A man convicted of the rape of a 10-year-old girl has applied for his sentenced to be reduced.

Iowase Cagi, 35, appeared at the High Court in Suva before judge Justice Nazhat Shameem yesterday, saying he would immediately return to his village in Tailevu and apologize to the girl’s family in the traditional way of ‘bulubulu,’ [peace offering] if the court reduced his sentence.

The court heard that between May and October in 2004 Cagi called the girl inside his house and raped her on two separate occasions.

The girl had accompanied Cagi and another to work at a farm and upon their return; Cagi called her into his house and forced himself on her before raping her. It had been earlier reported that after the second rape was committed in October, the girl informed her mother who later alerted the police.

Cagi appeared before the magistrate’s court and admitted to two counts of rape. He was sentenced to nine years in prison. Cagi is now appealing against his sentence on the grounds that it was harsh and excessive.

Director of Public Prosecutions lawyer Jojiana Tuiteci, when objecting to the appeal, said the sentence issued by the magistrate was appropriate when considering the circumstances of the case where a 10-year-girl had been raped.

She said the girl had trusted him and Cagi had betrayed that trust when he committed the offence.

Tuiteci said the nine-year sentence was below the tariff, adding the law clearly stated the penalties for offences where a child is raped.

Cagi said he had been looking after his elderly parents and was responsible for their livelihood until he was jailed.

Justice Shameem adjourned the court next to September 1 for judgment.

September 1, 2006

FijiSUN: http://www.sun.com.fj/

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