Two face jail after Supreme Court hands down sentences for “degrading,” “dreadful” rape

    Tautea ngāue pōpula 'a Heneli Valele ki he ta'u 'e fitu kae toloi e māhina 'e 15 fakamuimui pea ngāue pōpula ta'u 'e valu 'a Timote Kaufusi kae toloi e māhinva 'e 15 fakamuimui'. Ko e tautea 'eni ki he'ena tohotoho'i ha fefine 'i Holonga 'a ia 'oku 'i ai e tui ne hu'akava'ia 'a e ongo tangata' ni pea'a na hai foki he taimi ne na fakahoko ai 'a e hia' ni fulikivanu' ni.

    Two youths who engaged in what the supreme Court described as a “humiliating, wanton and degrading” sexual assault on a woman have been sentenced to eight and seven years’ jail.

    Heneli Valele and Timote Kaufusi were found guilty on a series of sexual assault charges and other counts involving housebreaking and theft.

    The incident happened on July 18 last year at Holonga.

    “This offending involving two youths may be described quite simply as dreadful,” Mr Justice Cato said.

    The judge said the starting point for calculating sentences for rape needed to be revised upward.

    “The starting point which has been applied for rape offending since about 1996 in Tonga is five years,” he said.

    “In my view, revision of this starting point upwards is required to adequately reflect the seriousness of rape in the modern age.

    “Rape in Tonga carries a maximum sentence of 15 years. The victim was cruelly treated by these youths who had no respect or regard for her at all.”

    Offences of this kind must be denounced as reprehensible by this Court.

    “Sentences must reflect the seriousness of this offending as a deterrent and as protection for woman against predatory sexual home invasions of this kind,” he said.

    Both youths have criminal records and both had consumed alcohol around the time of the assault and housebreaking.

    Valele had taken a combination of alcohol and cannabis.

    “In my experience of criminal offending this can be a very dangerous combination and those advocating the liberalisation of cannabis should consider this,” Judge Cato said.

    Mr Kaufusi’s lawyer suggested  his client may have taken methamphetamine, a drug the judge said was “ sadly becoming increasingly prevalent in Tonga and more commonly featuring in these courts.”

    Kaufusi will serve eight years for rape with the last 15 months suspended.

    Valele will serve seven years with the last 15 months suspended.

    The main points

    • Two youths who engaged in what the supreme Court described as a “humiliating, wanton and degrading” sexual assault on a woman have been sentenced to eight and seven years jail.
    • Heneli Valele and Timote Kaufusi were found guilty on a series of sexual assault charges and other counts involving housebreaking and theft.
    • The incident happened on July 18 last year.

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