“I beg you to please forgive me for the wrong that I’ve done. Not only that but I know that only God can forgive me and everybody for their sins. My sister, please forgive me. Please forgive what I did to you and please – forgive me.”
So apologises Terry Faati in court to the Australian woman he raped as she sat in the courtroom on Friday.
Direct personal apologies to victims of crime are uncommon during court proceedings and presiding judge Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke admitted it so.
“It is not the normal course we deal with at this stage in this matter but given that they are leaving tomorrow, I grant you leave to make your apology,” Justice Leiataualesa said.
“On the basis that they are leaving tomorrow, prosecution does not object to their application that has been made, in consultation with the complainant herself.”
The victim was scheduled to depart Samoa for her home country on Saturday, 22 June 2019.
She was given name suppression and was present in the courtroom with her mother and aunt from Australia.
It was an emotional moment for both offender and offended.
The defendant, Terry Faati, dressed in a white shirt, necktie and dark jeans sobbed when he offered his apology.
The apology was given in Samoan and translated into English by a court translator.
The victim cried from the witness stand when Faati, in tears, turned to face her and say sorry.
“First of all, I would like to say something about the charges that are before the court against me in regard to the matter of (victim’s name). Now, I humbly apologize to my sister (victim’s name) for what happened,” the defendant said.
Faati said the victim was good to him. He thanked her for everything she did for him and also apologized to her mother and family.
“I know that you’ve been so good to me. You are a kind and loving person. I thank you for everything you have done for me in the past. Please forgive me. Secondly, I would like to extend my humble apology to (victim’s) mom and her aunt. Please forgive me. I thank you very much for everything you have done for me and I just want you to know that I love you so much – and thank you.”
According to the government’s case, Faati raped the woman on the night of 21 November, 2018 at a hotel. He knew his victim well and they were acquaintances.
At first, the defendant denied the rape charge but on Friday his defense attorney Tuala Joe Ponifasio made an application to have Faati vacate his plea of not guilty and enter a plea of guilty.
The matter was set for hearing but with the change of plea, it now goes to sentencing.
Sentencing is scheduled for 24 July 2019.
Faati is remanded in custody pending his next court appearance.