A paedophile willing to pay $500 for sex with an 18-month-old boy has had his minimum period of imprisonment reduced from 20 years to 15 years but is unlikely to ever leave prison.
The Court of Appeal found the 20-year preventive detention sentence imposed on sex offender Aaron John Ellmers, 42, was excessive. A term of 15 years met concerns around protecting the community without precluding the possibility of rehabilitation, it said.
The open-ended preventive detention would still apply.
Ellmers pleaded guilty this year to offences including making a "forced labour" deal using a person under 18 for sex, attempted sexual contact with a boy under 2, indecently assaulting boys under 12, stupefying a boy, covertly making an intimate visual recording, and copying and possessing objectionable materials.
He was sentenced in the High Court in Napier in May.
His lawyer, Chris Tennet, argued in the Court of Appeal the reasons given by the High Court judge for his decision were inadequate, while the term of 20 years was not justified and removed any hope for the future.
The Court of Appeal agreed and reduced the minimum sentence to 15 years.
Justice French, in giving the reasons for the Court of Appeal decision, said Ellmers was extremely deviant and exceptionally devious and it was unlikely he would ever be released from prison.
"Even with treatment, unless there are some genuine, measurable and substantial changes in Ellmers' behaviour, the Parole Board's statutory mandate means it is most unlikely he will ever be released whether at the end of the minimum period of imprisonment or otherwise," he said.
"The strong impression given by the reports is that Ellmers is unlikely to respond to treatment."
There was a real possibility that during the next 20 years treatments might change and those treatments might help Ellmers, he said.
In December 2005, Ellmers was sentenced in Australia to five years' imprisonment for rape, attempted rape and four counts of indecent treatment of a child.
Ellmers received more than 40 sex-offending treatment sessions during that jail term and boasted later that listening to the stories of others had allowed him to perfect his own techniques.
In 2008, the Australian authorities deported Ellmers back to New Zealand having served about 18 months of his sentence.
Almost immediately after his return to New Zealand, Ellmers started accessing objectionable material involving paedophilia on the internet. He also began offending against a male child aged between 3 and 4, offending which continued for four years.
He then went on to offend against two other children and make the offer to pay for sex with the toddler.
- © Fairfax NZ News