High-risk rapist gets first strike

MARTY SHARPE
Last updated 05:00 20/12/2013

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A young man with a long history of domestic violence convictions has been given a hefty prison sentence for a violent attack on a woman two days before Christmas last year.

Before Mahu Ropiha, 28, attacked and raped the woman, he had been the subject of 21 reported family violence incidents, four of which had resulted in convictions.

Yesterday he appeared for sentencing in the Napier District Court after a jury found him guilty of rape, and burglary.

His latest offending began on December 22, when he rang and texted the woman throughout the day. At 3am the next morning he rang her and said he was coming around. She locked all the windows and doors.

At 4.33am she rang police to say he was at the address and had tried to break down her door. He fled and could not be found when police arrived. Half an hour later, he forced his way into the house, wrapped his hands around her neck, stripped her and told her he would have sex with her.

Ropiha's lawyer, Eric Forster, said Ropiha was intoxicated on alcohol and cannabis and "he thought it was consensual sex".

Judge Tony Adeane said it was clear Ropiha had no real remorse and noted the offending occurred at a time he was attending a domestic violence course. "It seems to me that offending of this kind, involving a cavalier disregard for this woman's interests, was virtually inevitable."

He said a probation officer found Ropiha had a high risk of reoffending and of causing harm. He added a year's prison to his starting point of 10 years for the aggravating factors and Ropiha was also given a first strike under the "three-strikes legislation".

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- The Dominion Post

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