Justice Panuel Mogish, last Friday sentenced the 27-year-old man (name withheld) for molesting his three-year-old cousin on April 20, 2018, at Tokarara, in Port Moresby.
Judge Mogish, when handing down the judgment, told the man that what he had done was morally wrong.
“A young child of that tender age is not fit to engage in any sexual activities.
“Children have the same rights as adults and must be treated with respect and dignity. They must be protected from sexual predators like you. If you cannot respect this simple rule, then you do not deserve to live amongst children,” Judge Mogish said.
The court heard that at the time of the offence, at their home in Port Moresby, the man unzipped his pants, laid on top of his cousin and touched her genital area while she was asleep.
This had caused the child to sustain bruises.
He was caught in the act by the child’s mother but fled and was later captured at his place of work after three days.
Although the maximum sentence for molesting a child is 12 years, defence lawyer Malcom Sumbuk, from the office of the public solicitor, submitted for a sentence between two and five years while State lawyer Andrew Kaipu asked for a sentence of between five and seven years.
Justce Mogish imposed a six-year sentence but suspended two years and 10 months for time spent in custody. This left a balance of three years and two months for the prisoner to serve.
“You took advantage of her vulnerability and abused her. And this happened inside a family home, a place considered to be safe from outside harm.
“They are not commodities to be manipulated at will by anybody.
“Given their age and vulnerability, all efforts must be made by communities to ensure they are free from any form of violence.”
Judge Mogish said child molesters and sexual predators do not deserve to live amongst children because they pose a threat to security and the well-being of children.