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Tonga court sentences man for having carnal knowledge with child

Twenty two year old Petuliki Lave has been sentenced to eight years imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to the serious offence of carnal knowledge of a child under the age of 12.

The offence was committed in November last year.

While sentencing Lave, Justice Charles Cato adopted a starting point of 11-years imprisonment required to reflect Parliament's concern to protect young girls under the age of 12 from predatory behaviour of this kind.

Justice Cato said the paramount sentencing consideration is plainly the protection of children.

"It is the courts duty to protect children from this kind of conduct."

The judge acknowledged the prisoner, a first time offender had pleaded guilty, was cooperative and showed deep remorse, meriting a significant reduction.

Tonganow Online reports he gave a three-year discount and imposed eight-years imprisonment to be backdated to when he was in custody.

The probation officer reported that the prisoner had expressed a suicidal ideation and struggled with depression, said the judge who also suspended the final year of his sentence, upon strict orders.

"I also direct the Commissioner of Prisons to ensure that he is monitored for any suicidal tendencies and arrange appropriate medical including possible psychiatric assistance and treatment, if considered necessary."

The maximum sentence for this offence is life imprisonment.  
Source: Tonganow online
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