Ex-sta­tion chief jailed 12 years for rap­ing ju­nior Po­lice­woman

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The for­mer Of­fi­cer in Charge of Tave­uni Po­lice Sta­tion has been jailed for 12 years for rap­ing a ju­nior po­lice­woman. The sen­tence was also for three in­de­cently an­noy­ing counts in­volv­ing two other ju­nior women. Yabakiono had de­nied the charges but was found guilty by Jus­tice Paul Madigan af­ter a trial. Jus­tice Madigan told the High Court in Labasa that In­spec­tor To­masi Yabakiono had been posted to Tave­uni in Fe­bru­ary 2013. Yabakiono was sent there to “reg­u­larise mat­ters” af­ter nu­mer­ous com­plaints against the is­land’s Po­lice and their ser­vice. “How­ever un­der his con­trol he added a fur­ther di­men­sion to the prob­lems there; a cli­mate of sex­ual ha­rass­ment,” said Jus­tice Madigan. “Three very ju­nior fe­male Po­lice Of­fi­cers told the court of his au­thor­i­tar­ian and op­pres­sive man­age­ment style. “He told one mar­ried WPC to have an af­fair be­fore sub­se­quently rap­ing her.” Although the vic­tim sub­mit­ted to his per­sonal in­va­sion with­out de­mur, she tes­ti­fied that he had no choice. It was her boss the OC and he had been try­ing to per­suade her late at night in a de­serted place for more than 30 min­utes that he wanted to have sex with her. Jus­tice Madigan said her lack of con­sent “is there­fore cov­ered by the pro­vi­sions of Sec­tion 206(2)(d) of the Crimes De­cree 2009 which negates con­sent when it is ob­tained by the ex­er­cise of au­thor­ity.” “Apart from the ag­gra­va­tion re­ferred to supra it is fur­ther ag­gra­vat­ing that this as­sault was per­pe­trated late at night in a very re­mote part of the is­land while the two were re­turn­ing from a Po­lice op­er­a­tion,” Jus­tice Madigan said. “The ac­cused had told the woman he was tak­ing her home but he di­verted the Po­lice ve­hi­cle to the re­mote spot to press upon her his sex­ual de­sire.

“In ad­di­tion to the in­dig­nity oc­ca­sioned to her by the rape she was fur­ther de­prived of her dig­nity by be­ing as­saulted by her su­pe­rior in the back of a Po­lice ve­hi­cle.” Jus­tice Madigan said three other of­fences of in­de­cently an­noy­ing a per­son, while in­signif­i­cant when com­pared with the rape, are nev­er­the­less se­ri­ous in the con­text of a Po­lice sta­tion. He said although the name of the of­fence was old fash­ioned it amounted to no less than sex­ual ha­rass­ment and sex­ual ha­rass­ment in the work­place in Fiji could not be tol­er­ated. Jus­tice Madigan said: “These con­vic­tions dis­played ar­ro­gant, con­de­scend­ing and pre­sump­tu­ous be­hav­ior to­wards the three women in ques­tion.”

“He told an­other that he wanted to have an af­fair with her and pestered the third sin­gle fe­male vol­un­teer with ob­scene and sug­ges­tive phone calls.” Yabakiono, 47, mar­ried with two daugh­ters, is a for­mer na­tional rugby league rep for the World Cup in 1993. He also served in Su­dan and a re­cip­i­ent for the Com­men­da­tion Medal for long ser­vice in the Force. The for­mer in­spec­tor will serve a min­i­mum of 10 years.

Apart from the ag­gra­va­tion re­ferred to supra it is fur­ther ag­gra­vat­ing that this as­sault was per­pe­trated late at night in a very re­mote part of the is­land while the two were re­turn­ing from a Po­lice op­er­a­tion.

Jus­tice Paul Madigan

High Court Judge

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