A father who spent years using his three small children as "sexual playthings" shook his head as he began the 19-year prison term imposed in the Christchurch District Court today.
The man, a 37-year-old freight worker, continues to deny all the charges even after the jury found him guilty of 12 offences at the end of a seven-day trial.
Judge Jane Farish told him she had never seen such serious victim impact statements in 23 years of work as a prosecutor and judge.
She suppressed the details of the health effects upon the two girls and a boy from offending that began in 2001 and only stopped in 2008 when one of the girls disclosed what had been happening.
The man has final suppression of name to protect the identities of the children.
The judge said she had been given references from the man's family and friends, which described him as a kind, caring, honest, and capable individual.
"On the face of it, you appeared to be a nice, normal family man, taking your children to speedway, taking your daughter to (a youth organisation), while at the same time you were sexually offending against them," she said.
"You used your children as sexual playthings over a long period of time."
Judge Farish imposed a 10-year non-parole term as part of the 19-year sentence, telling the man there needed to be some comfort for the community as a whole that it would be some time before he was considered for release.
"During the course of the trial I watched you, particularly when the children were giving evidence and I didn't see any expressions of empathy for them, given the difficulties they were going through."
The man was found guilty of three charges of indecent assault on girls under 12, four of doing an indecent act on the children, one of indecent assault on his son, and charges of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection, and rape.
All of the children were under 12 during most of the offending, and all of the charges were representative, meaning the offending occurred more than once. They gave evidence at trial over a closed circuit television link from another part of the Court.
Crown prosecutor Claire Boshier listed 10 aggravating factors indicating the sentencing range should be near the maximum sentence of 20 years. The factors included the breach of trust, the threats to the victims, the physical pain imposed on them, the harm caused, the age and number of the victims, and the fact that the offending occurred in their home where they should have felt safe.
The boy had been banished from the family without explanation because of his behaviour. Miss Boshier said it was "breath-taking" hypocrisy that the man had said the son was sent away to protect his youngest daughter at a time when he was offending against her himself.
Defence counsel Colin Eason said it was a tragedy for the family and for the man who continued to deny any wrong-doing. "For this man, this is a catastrophic, life-changing situation to be in, which he does not accept."
Judge Farish said she hoped the man would come to accept his offending. His acknowledgement would be a significant step towards his children's wellbeing.
After the sentencing, Mr Eason said there would be discussions on whether an appeal should be considered.