Sex offender jailed

Last updated 11:00 20/11/2012

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A Blenheim man convicted on two charges of rape and 10 other charges was yesterday sentenced to 13 years' jail with a minimum non-parole period of six years.

The 43-year-old man, who has name suppression, denied all charges during his trial in September.

He was found guilty on two charges of rape, two of unlawful sexual connection, five of indecent assault on a child aged between 12 and 16, two of indecent assault on a person over 16 and one charge of assault on a child under 14.

The man originally faced 30 charges relating to three females but was found not guilty of 18 of those charges.

The offending took place between 1996 and 1998 and 2003 and 2005. The victim was a female in his care aged from 12 to 21 at the time. The man appeared for sentence in the High Court at Blenheim yesterday and Justice Alan MacKenzie said several aggravating factors influenced his sentencing decision.

The first was the vulnerability of the victim, who was dependent on the offender. The degree of disability in the victim was also a factor, as well as the breach of trust and multiple offending.

The victim's impact statement also revealed the emotional and psychological consequences, something that could be profound and long-lasting, he said.

Defence lawyer Rob Harrison said despite the victim's level of vulnerability, she was capable of living an independent life and making her own decisions.

He asked the judge to consider the man's good reputation. "He has certainly gone the extra mile for people coming into this country," Mr Harrison said.

Crown prosecutor Sophie O'Donoghue said the systematic abuse of the victim over a period of years required a starting point of 15 to 17 years' jail.

"The victim was vulnerable because of her intellectual impairment," Ms O'Donoghue said. "There was a serious breach of trust, given the relationship."

Justice MacKenzie gave the man "a generous credit" for being a hard worker who was held in high regard in his community. A starting sentence of 13 years was given, with a minimum sentence of six years.

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- The Marlborough Express

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