Sentencing delayed for convicted rapist

Last updated 14:34 18/05/2013

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A Palmerston North rapist's case has been referred to the High Court so a sentence of preventive detention can be considered.

Tony Russell Wells was in December found guilty of the rape and sexual violation of a woman in 2003.

On the night of the attack the 32-year-old mechanic picked up the woman, who needed a ride home from work. He drove her to an isolated road near Palmerston North Airport where he raped and violated her, before dropping her home.

At the same trial, Wells was found not guilty of sexually violating a woman in 2006.

He had previously pleaded guilty to one charge of sexual violation from an incident in 2007.

In the Palmerston North District Court yesterday, crown prosecutor Ben Vanderkolk said Wells' lack of remorse and "at least medium" risk of reoffending meant a sentence of preventive detention was a possibility.

He said a sentence of 11 years in prison was probably appropriate.

Defence lawyer Simon Hewson said two psychologists had carried out separate assessments on Wells, with one determining him as a medium-to-low risk of reoffending.

Judge Les Atkins said there should be the option of preventive detention available to the judge sentencing him.

It was therefore a matter for the High Court in Palmerston North, he said.

Judge Atkins declined jurisdiction and remanded Wells in custody to reappear in July.

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- Manawatu Standard

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