A SOLDIER who sexually assaulted a young schoolgirl after claiming he mistook her for his wife has been jailed.
Sosiveta Nakanacagi kissed and fondled the 12-year-old girl after he returned to his home following a heavy drinking session with pals at his barracks.
Corporal Nakanacagi claimed he mistook the child for his wife due to his drunkenness and that the girl had climbed on top of him as lay sleeping.
The soldier, who has completed four tours of Afghanistan with the Royal Highland Fusiliers (2 Scots), said the girl began kissing him as he lay on the bed with his eyes closed.
Nakanacagi, who is based at Glencorse Barracks, in Midlothian, claimed he immediately pushed the girl off him after opening his eyes and finding the girl on top of him.
But a jury failed to believe the corporal’s story and found him guilty of sexual assaulting the youngster at a home in Midlothian following a three day trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last month.
And yesterday the Fijian national, who is not related to the girl, was jailed for 14 months and placed on the sex offenders register for seven years.
Sheriff Michael O’Grady QC told the shamed soldier the attack was “a significant breach or trust” and that he had left the schoolgirl “very confused and troubled”.
Previously the 39-year-old soldier told the court he had gone to the girl’s home following a heavy drinking session at his barracks.
Nakanacagi said: “I took my boots off and went upstairs to the bedroom. I went straight to bed and fell asleep.
“The next thing I was aware of was someone laying on top of me. She kissed me and I kissed her back.
“It ended when I opened my eyes and I recognised the girl and I pushed her to one side - I pushed her off [me].”
But prosecutor Kim Schofield challenged the soldier’s story by stating: “You knew it was the girl when you put you hands in her pants.”
Nakanacagi replied: “No.”
“Did the 12-year-old girl feel the same [as your wife]?”, Miss Schofield asked.
Nakanacagi again replied: “No.”
The fiscal depute added: “You didn’t make a mistake, did you? You knew it was her and you sexually assaulted her?”
Again the soldier replied: “No.”
The jury also heard evidence from Nakanacagi’s wife who said she had confronted the soldier after the girl told her she had been molested by the drunk corporal.
The court also heard the girl had opened up to a teacher at her school and police and social services were called in to investigate.
The young victim gave her evidence to the jury via a video link to a closed court.
Nakanacagi was found guilty by a majority decision of sexually assaulting the girl by placing his hands inside her clothing and touching her on the buttocks on an occasion between March 17, 2013 and March 16, 2015 at an address in Midlothian.
Yesterday Sheriff O’Grady added: “You have a long and distinguished record of public service. Nonetheless any sexual assault on a child has to be regarded as serious and it is graver when it is committed by a person of trust. You engaged in an act that clearly caused her considerable fear and continued confusion.”