24 Oct 2012

War against women and children being waged in Solomons: judge

2:44 pm on 24 October 2012

A Solomon Islands High Court judge says a war is being waged against women and children.

Justice Stephen Pallaras says sentences for rape in Solomon Islands over the past couple of decades have been too lenient and since taking up his position three months ago, he has been imposing longer terms of imprisonment.

Justice Pallaras says both the criminal code and parliament view rape as a very serious offence, warranting in some cases a life sentence.

He says he is going against the practice of awarding sentences of between two and five years because shorter jail terms are failing to deter men from raping.

"The victims that come before me are not men, by and large or the great majority are women and an increasing number are children, who by their very nature are comparatively defenceless. So that's why I use that expression."

Justice Stephen Pallaras says he does not know why Solomon Islands judges have tended to award shorter sentences for rape.