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291 rape cases pending in the High Courts

06:42 Tue Dec 05, 2017

Taken from/By: FBC News
Report by: Rachael Nath

Two hundred and ninety one rape cases are pending before the High Courts of Fiji.

This was revealed by Suva High Court Judge Justice Salesi Temo who says the increased cases is a reflection of the society and its morals.

The Lautoka High Court has the largest number of pending cases amounting to 168 rape cases, 20 murder cases and 9 aggravated robberies.

In the Suva High Court as of the 24th of last month, there are 79 rape cases pending while the Labasa Court has 44 pending rape cases.

Justice Salesi Temo says the most commonly discussed sex crime in Fiji is rape, sexual assault, defilement and indecent assault.

He says the increase in rape statistics follows the change over from the Penal Code to the Crimes Act 2009.

As previously the definition of rape under the Penal Code was gender biased towards males having intercourse with a female without her consent.

Justice Temo adds the law has come a long way – as in the 1970’s those convicted of rape served a sentence of 2-3 years – however judges can now sentence a person for 10-16 years or even life imprisonment if found guilty of rape.

He says topics of this sort is a taboo in the society and even in families – however, it’s important to talk about it, as being shy towards the topic will serve no good.

The Judge highlighted that families, schools, churches, communities and religious organizations play a pivotal role – as they are the agents who teach members of society how to behave and can even prevent the crime.

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