Ex-station chief jailed 12 years for raping junior Policewoman
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