Prisoner pleads guilty to “terrifying” attempted rape of Japanese volunteer worker last October

Lopeti Talafekau Soafa has pleaded guilty to the attempted rape of a Japanese volunteer worker last year.

Soafa, 18, was sentenced to four years imprisonment by Hon. Justice Cato in the Supreme Court.

The assault occurred about 7.30pm on October 16 last year when Soafa tricked his way into the woman’s house.

In his report on the case, Justice Cato said the assault had been a terrifying  and  humiliating  experience  for a  young  woman  who   had  come  to  Tonga  on  voluntary  service.

She was flown home by the Japanese authorities after the attack.

“She does not accept the prisoner’s apology for what she described , in my view appropriately, as ‘these horrible crimes.”

Soafa was drunk when he assaulted the Japanese woman, who fought back and screamed for help.

Passers-by heard her cries and saw the pair struggling.  Soafa escaped  through  the bedroom window, but left behind some of his clothes and a mobile phone.

He admitted to the assault when he was arrested.

Hon. Justice Cato said he reduced Soafa’s sentence to four years and mitigated the last 12 months because of the prisoner’s youth, his early guilty plea and acceptance of responsibility and some attempts to rehabilitate himself by involvement with a church group.

Once released, Soafa will be on probation for 12 months, during which time he must not  make any attempt to contact the complainant in Japan and must attend a course on alcohol and drug abuse run  by the Salvation Army and a course  on  sexual abuse at the Woman’s Crisis Centre.

The main points

  • Lopeti Talafekau Soafa has pleaded guilty to the attempted rape of a Japanese volunteer worker last year.
  • Soafa, 18, was sentenced to four years imprisonment by Hon. Justice Cato in the Supreme Court.
  • The assault occurred on October 16 last year when Soafa tricked his way into the woman’s house.
  • In his report on the case, Justice Cato said the assault had been a terrifying and  humiliating  experience  for a  young  woman  who   had  come  to  Tonga  on  voluntary

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