1 Oct 2004

Marshalls teen given seven years in jail for sex assault

10:35 am on 1 October 2004

A Marshall Islands teenager has been sentenced to seven years in jail for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a five-year-old girl last year in Majuro.

The teenager was 16 when he committed the crime in September 2003, and was almost 18 at the time of sentencing.

He was given a 10 year jail sentence, three years of which are suspended.

The teenager was found guilty of kidnapping and assault and battery, but not guilty of the charge of rape because of what the presiding judge, Richard Hickson, called "severe deficiencies" in the Marshall Islands' law on sex offences.

The judge condemned the lack of updated sex assault laws that prevented him from finding the teen guilty of rape, saying there was a requirement that the community be protected from acts of this kind.