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Samoa court of appeal sets new guidelines for sentencing rape crimes

The Supreme Court in Samoa will soon have new guidelines to follow when sentencing rape crimesThe move, set by the judges of the court of appeal, comes after an appeal against a 14 year jail term for a convicted rapist was squashed and reduced to 11 years.The appellant, a prominent local musician, was convicted last month and sentenced to 14 years for one count of rape, one of attempted rape, and resisting and assaulting police.However the court of appeal ruled the starting point set out by the trial judge was too high.The new guidelines from now on will be 8 to 10 years, where the offending is at the lower end, 9 to 15 years where violence and premeditation are moderate, and 14 to 20 years where there are aggravating features at a relatively serious level.The court of appeal is also setting terms from 19 years to life imprisonment for cases of rape likely to consist of multiple offending over considerable time, as well as cases of sexual assault on family members.