Sopu rapist and robber sentenced to 14 years imprisonment, but will serve six and-a-half

First time offender Sisi Pale has been sentenced to 14 years imprisonment for rape and robbery, but will only serve six and-a-half years.

Pale, 34, of Lapaha, was part of a gang of five who broke into a house in Sopu on June 10, 2014.

Four of the other men were sentenced in May 2015 to between two and four and-a-half years imprisonment respectively.

Pale pleaded guilty just before his trial for rape was to begin.

He was sentenced to six years for robbery, with the last 18 months suspended, two years for rape, two years for conspiracy to house breaking, two years for conspiracy to steal and three and a half years for serious house breaking.

Justice Charles Cato said Pale’s victim had undergone a “terrifying ordeal.”

In his ruling Justice Charles Cato combined Pale’s robbery and rape sentences with the other sentences so he will only spend six and-a-half year in jail. Mr Justice Cato said he thought the appropriate terms for the rape should be five years.

The judge said he would “refrain from imposing any longer period because (Pale) has pleaded guilty, is a first offender and to assist further with his rehabilitation.”

The suspension of his robbery sentence was made on the condition that Pale would not commit any offences punishable by imprisonment for two years, that he would be placed on probation for two years and undergo a course under the supervision of probation officer.

He also has to undergo a course on drug and alcohol abuse.

The judge also took into account that Pale was married with eight children and the fact that the victim withdrew from giving evidence in court.

Mr Justice Cato also ruled that the sentences be backdated to the date of his remand in custody.

The court was told that on June, 10, 2014, Pale, together with five other young men, were driving around the Sopu area at about 11pm in Pale’s truck.

While driving one of the men told them about “a house where he was sure goods could be located and said the residents were elderly.”

The man who had provided this information, was dropped off at his residence while the others returned at about 3am and entered the house.

A court document said: “Pale climbed up a pipe and entered the house on the first floor. He then opened the entrance door to allow the others in. Four others entered and went upstairs.”

The men including Pale entered the house with their faces covered while the victim was asleep and alone.

They tied her to her bed and continued to remove a large amount of goods from the house and placed them in Mr Pale’s truck.

Pale then returned to the house with a screw driver, but the Crown said he did not use it to threaten the woman.

According to the court records, he “told the victim that he wanted to have sex with her. He proceeded then to digitally abuse her”.

The court was told the victim found what Pale did to her painful and asked him to stop it and have sex with her if he wanted.

“He then untied her bonds on her feet, removed her pants and had sexual intercourse.”

When Pale finished raping the victim he left her in the house with her hands still bound together. She managed to free herself and sought help.

Pale admitted his offence to the police.

In his ruling Mr Jutice Cato said he considered a probation report that Pale had a big family, was the leader of daily labour work group and also hired out a truck and tractor to earn income.

“The rape appears to have been an opportunistic attempt by him to take advantage of the victim, in the absence of the others,” the court document said.

Pale’s legal counsel told the judge his client’s offending that night had been “the product of a large amount of alcohol   being consumed by the group”.

“That might explain his aberrant conduct which was out of character for Pale, but the fact that his behaviour may have been induced by excessive alcohol consumption is not a factor that can mitigate his offending,” the judge said.

“In my view, the most significant factor in mitigation is his guilty plea, late though it was, for reasons which Mr Niu has explained.

“By pleading guilty he has at least saved the victim from having to relive the ordeal, although the lateness of his plea diminishes the discount because she has had to live with the prospect of having to give evidence for a very long time, an ordeal in itself,” Mr Cato said.

The Crown prosecutor, Lutui, told the court “the victim had resigned herself to what had occurred and was pleased not to have had to give evidence and they have left the premises where the incident happened.”

The judge said he took to account the fact that Pale’s family “are also, in a sense, victims of his criminality, they being deprived of his income and support for what will be a considerable time.”

He said the family now lived on charity, but still visited the prisoner in jail.

The main points

  • First time offender Sisi Pale has been sentenced to 14 years imprisonment for rape and robbery, but will only serve six and-a-half years.
  • Pale, 34, of Lapaha, was part of a gang of five who broke into a house in Sopu in 2014.
  • He was sentenced to six years for robbery, with the last 18 months suspended, two years for rape, two years for conspiracy to house breaking, two years for conspiracy to steal and three and a half years for serious house breaking.
  • He will serve time for the rape and robbery charges, with the other sentences to be served concurrently.

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