A 25-year-old's bizarre explanation that he offended sexually to get deported to Samoa will pay off - but only after he has served a two-year four-month jail term.
Matthew Sua has spent so long in custody on remand that after his Christchurch District Court sentencing today he may only have to wait one more month before his case comes before the Parole Board.
Judge Jane Farish explained to him: "The Parole Board will decide whether to release you to be deported, or whether they wish you to receive treatment."
Sua has behaved well during his 11 months in custody so far, and has made a great improvement in his English language studies through classes in prison.
He told the judge about his claim that the offending was a bid to be deported in a letter that was handed in at the sentencing by defence counsel Phillip Allan today.
Sua has no previous convictions. He came to New Zealand in 2007 and has been living with family and working since then. At his first court appearance last year he was served with a notice by Immigration New Zealand that he would be deported to Samoa immediately at the end of any prison term imposed.
He has since admitted two indecent assaults and a burglary charge. The case was delayed while the police increased one of the charges to sexual violation - which carries a much heavier penalty - but the charge was eventually reduced again to indecent assault.
The offending occurred on February 13, 2013, when Sua followed and groped a woman cyclist who had had an accident on her bicycle and was injured.
She told the court she was frightened by the incident and fearful that Sua would return.
He later committed a burglary and when he found a woman asleep in bed he had reached under the bedcovers and indecently assaulted her.
Allan told the court that Sua denied it was sexual offending. Sua maintained that he reached under the bedcovers to give the woman "some sort of reassuring pat that he was there and she should not be scared".
"It is the location of the pat that's the issue," Allan said.
Judge Farish said: "I am somewhat sceptical of the [deportation] explanation. I am also conscious of the fact that it is unusual for someone of your age to offend in such a serious way without any prior indication that there was anything wrong with the way you were thinking about women or breaking into people's homes."
She gave him a first strike warning under the system which imposes heavier penalties on repeat sexual and violent offenders, and imposed a two-year four-month jail term which will see him make his first appearance before the Parole Board within weeks.
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