Sex abuse cost victim her friends

JONO GALUSZKA
Last updated 09:00 21/12/2013

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A woman who was sexually abused as a teenager says the experience has caused her to lose friends and made it difficult for her to form relationships with people.

Richard William Hina, 21, was sentenced in the Palmerston North District Court yesterday on four charges of committing indecent acts against a teenage girl between January 2008 and May 2010.

A jury found him guilty of two charges, while he pleaded guilty to the other two during his trial earlier this year.

He was found not guilty of other charges, including rape.

At his sentencing, his victim, whose name is suppressed, had her victim impact statement read to the court. She wanted to read it herself, but was too emotional to do so.

Judge David Smith suppressed the bulk of the statement, but allowed a summary of it to be reported.

The victim said Hina's actions had affected her life and her personality.

The abuse had affected her ability to form relationships, especially with males, and she had lost friends because of Hina's offending.

The trial had also been difficult for her.

Judge Smith accepted the offending had harmed her, but other things happening in her life at the time also contributed to the way she now feels.

The offending took place at the victim's family home, a place Judge Smith said that Hina had been welcomed into because he was trusted.

That trust, he said, had been breached.

"The breach of trust was large, as it was to the victim and to the family.

"You knew [the abuse] was wrong, you knew she was under the age of 16 and you knew what you were doing was illegal.

"You took advantage of her, you took advantage of their total trust in you, and I doubt they will ever forgive you."

Judge Smith said two of the charges were representative of a series of offences, the number of which had never been confirmed.

Hina had shown genuine remorse and shame at his actions, but probation's recommendation that he be sentenced to community detention was far too light, Judge Smith said.

"I'm concerned there is a public perception that a sentence of community detention and supervision is appropriate.

"If I'm to enforce the message to the community at large, and especially to young males, that this behaviour is simply unacceptable, then a sentence of home detention is the only possible outcome."

Judge Smith sentenced Hina to seven-and-a-half months' home detention.

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- Manawatu Standard

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