A man has been found guilty of attempting to rape a 19-year-old girl in an attack which left her sweating, crying and tired inside a car outside a church in Kolomotu’a.
Police were working on a vehicle near the scene when they heard someone repeatedly shouting for help.
They immediately attended to the call and found the accused and the victim inside the accused’s car.
One Police officer saw the accused, Ma’ili Vaivelata grabbing one hand of the victim and had his other hand on her chest like they were wrestling, it said.
“He went to the car and saw the girl was crying”, the judgement said.
The victim asked him for help saying the accused was forcing her.
But Vaivelata whom the Police officer knew said “that nothing happened.”
The Supreme court was told that on the night of October 6, 2016 the victim went to the Digicel square with some friends looking for a lift to take them to Ma’ufanga.
They met Vaivelata who was sitting in his car which was parked under a mango tree.
At one stage, the accused and the victim along with friends of the victim drove to Talahiva restaurant in Nuku’alofa to buy food.
The victim’s friends got out of the car to get food while the victim was staying in the car with Vaivelata.
The court was told “they had been waiting for a long time and she was surprised when the vehicle started running.”
The victim and Vaivelata argued over the gear of the vehicle and they almost had an accident, it said.
They stopped outside the church before Vaivelata attempted to rape the victim.
The incident took place for about five minutes before Police had arrived.
The accused denied any sexual misconduct and said the victim was lying.
However, Justice Charles Cato said: “I accept her evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused had removed his pants and that could only be because he intended to have sexual intercourse with her which he knew she did not want.
“His actions went beyond mere preparation.”
“I find beyond a reasonable doubt the accused is guilty of attempted rape”, Mr Cato said.