Paedophile tearful as judge vetoes preventive detention

A child sex offender came close to breaking down as he learned he had avoided an open-ended jail term.

Brian William Conroy, 44, trembled and wiped his eyes when Justice Collins announced at the start of his sentencing remarks in the High Court at Wellington yesterday that Conroy was not going to get preventive detention.

Conroy was caught in Stokes Valley, Lower Hutt, in June after nearly two months on the run from police and probation officers. He was under a 10-year extended supervision order that was supposed to monitor and control his movements and who he associated with.

He had pleaded guilty to four breaches of the extended supervision order and to twice indecently assaulting the 9-year-old daughter of a female friend in 2010.

The touching was over the girl's clothing but because of Conroy's past offending the Crown had asked for him to be sentenced to preventive detention, a sentence that can mean a lifetime spent in jail. Instead Conroy was sentenced to three years and nine months' jail. He has to serve at least half the sentence before he can be considered for parole.

Justice Collins said Conroy would continue to be on extended supervision after his release from jail.

Conroy has had treatment inside and outside prison aimed at stopping him reoffending and is willing to undertake more rehabilitation programmes.

There was no indication Conroy's offending was getting more serious, Justice Collins said.

Prosecutor Miriam Sinclair said a psychologist thought Conroy was at high risk of reoffending.

Conroy had committed the two most recent indecent assaults while he was subject to extended supervision and continued to offend despite having treatment. Preventive detention should be imposed to protect the community she said.

But Conroy's lawyer, Louise Brown, said Conroy still had the potential to change.

He left where he was supposed to be living when he realised police wanted to talk to him about the 2010 assaults.

He had just got out of prison and did not want to go back, Ms Brown said.

In 2006, Conroy sexually violated a 6-year-old and was jailed for four years and six months. When he was freed in 2009, the 10-year extended supervision order was put in place.

Soon after, he was found to be living with a woman and her three children, aged under 16, in breach of his prison release conditions and supervision, so he was jailed for another 10 months.

Not long after his release from that sentence, he committed the two indecent assaults he was sentenced for yesterday.

He also had two more breaches of extended supervision. He made contact with children aged 5 and 8, held their hands and offered them food.

Another breach was talking to a young girl after church.

The extended supervision order is due to end in 2019 but could be extended when Conroy is next freed from prison.

The Dominion Post