Rapist's sentence was fair - judges

JIMMY ELLINGHAM
Last updated 12:36 20/11/2012

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A convicted rapist's appeal against his 10-year prison term has failed, with the Court of Appeal finding his sentence was just.

In September 2010, Palmerston North bakery dispatch operator Robin Peter Abraham was jailed after he admitted two representative charges of sexual violation by rape against a girl who was aged 10 to 12 at the time.

The sentencing judge, Alistair Garland, took a starting point of 15 years' prison and gave Abraham discounts from that.

Abraham's case was heard at the Court of Appeal in Wellington last month and the three presiding judges, Justice Christopher Allan, Justice Ellen France and Justice Graham Lang, have now issued their findings backing up Judge Garland's decision.

"The only issue on appeal is whether the starting point of 15 years was too high," the Court of Appeal decision says.

The offending took place between April or May 2008 and March 2010.

It began with inappropriate touching and indecent acts before progressing to sexual intercourse at remote locations such as a vacant section and an abandoned campervan on the outskirts of the city.

The Court of Appeal judges note the offending involved "significant elements of planning and premeditation" and took place over two years. Abraham was nearly 40 years older than the girl.

"As a consequence of these factors, his offending amounted to a significant breach of trust.

"The offending was further aggravated by the fact that Abraham was prepared to photograph the victim on at least one occasion whilst sexual activity was taking place."

The judges also noted the serious consequences of the offending for the girl. They concluded that the starting point had been "well within the range available" to Judge Garland, and dismissed the appeal against Abraham's sentence.

At Abraham's sentencing, a statement from the girl said she felt "scared, betrayed and confused" by what had happened.

Abraham's wife, Michelle, said she and her husband were considering whether to take the matter to the Supreme Court. They maintain he should have been charged under a different section of the Crimes Act that would have resulted in a lesser sentence.

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- Manawatu Standard

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