A child sex offender given preventive detention after he was found with a 13-year-old schoolgirl in his bed has had his appeal dismissed in the Court of Appeal.
Shane Frederick Stoneham, 27, whose past victims include a 4-year-old, was found with the girl while he was living at an Upper Hutt house under the guard of a Corrections Department contractor in 2010. He was supposed to be under 24-hour guard.
At his sentencing in the High Court at Wellington, the judge said the sentence of preventive detention, with a minimum period of five years, was necessary to protect other young girls.
But Stoneham appealed this sentence saying he should have been sentenced to a fixed jail term of four-and-a-half years instead.
In their decision, Justices Terence Arnold, Douglas White and Forrie Miller said preventive detention was an option if the court was satisfied that Stoneham was likely to commit another sexual or violent crime.
Because a sentence of preventive detention involved ‘‘judicial discretion’’, the Court of Appeal would only interfere if the decision was clearly wrong, the judges said.
‘‘The offence reflects a legislative assessment that girls of that age are vulnerable. In time they may come to see that they have been exploited.’’
The facts showed Stoneham’s ‘‘incapacity or unwillingness to moderate his behaviour despite supervision,’’ they said, before going on to say that they did not believe that Stoneham would modify his behaviour on his own.
‘‘Imprisonment has not previously prevented him from reoffending. Nor did the supervision to which he was subjected, although we accept that it may have delayed sexual offending for a time following his release in 2008.’’
The judges said in the decision that it was possible that Stoneham would make a real commitment to treatment in prison but that he was yet to make that commitment.
‘‘It is to be hoped that preventive detention will supply him with the necessary incentive.’’
The appeal was dismissed.
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