'Dangerous' Prisoner Who Negatively Impacted Samoa's Tourism With High Profile Rape Case Of Australian Woman Sentenced To 18 Years

Justice: prisoner is only 23 years old, but already he had been charged 20 times and is currently serving time until 2027

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, August 19, 2016) – The prisoner described by police as dangerous, has been sentenced to 18 more years in prison by Supreme Court Judge, Justice Lesatele Rapi Va’ai on the charge of rape.

Lauititi Tualima who drew negative publicity on the safety of Samoa’s tourism industry when he attacked and raped an Australian tourist in September 2015, was also convicted and sentenced to 5 years in jail for indecent assault and 12 months for robbery.  He was convicted and discharged on the charges of armed with a dangerous weapon and issuing threats.

All sentences are to be served concurrently which comes down to 18 years in jail.

However, the 18 years sentence imposed today will be served at the end of his previous convictions in 2027.

The Case
Lauititi Tualima slipped prison officers security while visiting the hospital in August 2015,   and ended up at the Lupesina Resort, Tiavi.

There, he entered the tree house where the victims, an Australian couple were staying, tied them up, threatened to kill them if they did not give him all their money.

The couple also gave up other properties such as the camera, mobile phone and ipad and then he proceeded to tie the man on the floor and raped the woman.

The moment Lauitiiti entered the tree house at Lupesina Resort, “you threatened the safety of the victims.”

“You were armed with a pair of scissors and took advantage of the couples’ state of fear and threatened to kill them if they did not hand over their money,” said Justice Va’ai.

“If the reason why you entered the tree house was to get money to survive on, you would have taken what was given to you by the couple and left, however, you chose to commit a more serious crime worse that taking money,” said Va’ai.

Lauititi took advantage of the man lying on his stomach with his hands and legs tied, and sexually assaulted the woman.

“You proceeded to leave the room, but one of the female workers arrival to notify the couple of their ride to the airport spoiled your escape,” said Justice Va’ai.

The couple had since returned to Australia and have undergone not only physical but mental and psychological treatment from their experience.

The offence has also affected the owners of the Lupesina resort who have voiced their concern, fear and sadness through the media.

Justice Va’ai also touched on the negligence of the police staff in looking after the prisoners, who seemed to find ways to escape from prison.

Justice Lesate Rapi Vaai’s ruling
Justice Va’ai noted that Lauititi is only 23 years old, but already he had been charged 20 times and is currently serving time until 2027.

“The sentence imposed today, will increase your time in jail,” he said.

He said that Lauititi chose his path in life by looking at the history of his offences that started from minor offences such as unlawful entry, theft and escalated to robbery.

Va’ai said Lauititi had used his strength by arming himself with dangerous weapons to commit crimes while on the run from the law.

“You have related to the Court your shame and remorse of your actions when you entered the resort and sexually assaulted the victim.”

“It appears from your plea that despite the seriousness of the offence, there is a sign that you want to change, and if what you say is true, there are programmes under the law that will help facilitate that change,” he said.

Aside from the changes Lauititi wanted to make, His Honour said, the public is not safe from his forceful actions on people.

As a result of Lauititi’s offending, there is also a possibility of him re-offending unless he is placed in prison with no chance of ever coming out again.

The Court’s view was also supported by the Probation Office who believes “Lauititi is at the stage where he sees Tafa’igata prison as his real home, and he will continue to offend and shows no remorse, and from his interview, it is likely he will break the law again.”

Prosecution asked for starting point for sentence to be either 14 to 20 years for the charge of rape and the Court accepted 20 years.

For all the charges he faced, he was sentenced to 21 years, but was reduced to 18 years to be served concurrently, starting in 2027 when he completes serving his previous convictions.

Copyright © 2016 Talamua. All Rights Reserved

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