A Nelson man who slapped, smothered, choked, and pulled the hair of a Christchurch sex worker - going beyond an agreement they had for rough sex - has been jailed for 10 months.
Daniel Juan Daly, 29, was found guilty of assaulting the woman at his trial. He was acquitted on charges of kidnapping, rape, and sexual violation relating to her and another sex worker he met the same night.
Even so, Crown prosecutor Deirdre Elsmore wanted Justice Rachel Dunningham in the High Court in Christchurch to sentence him as though it was a sex offence.
"The real purpose was to degrade her," Elsmore said.
"They were assaults meted out for sexual gratification rather than any violent motivation."
Defence counsel Moana Cole disputed that proposal, saying that Daly had been acquitted on all the sex and kidnapping charges.
The 19-year-old woman had been working as a sex worker for four weeks at the time of the assault on January 25 last year. She said in her victim impact statement: "He made me feel degraded as a woman."
She had trusted Daly not to harm her at a time when she was vulnerable.
She was not present at the sentencing, but her statement said: "Due to the nature of the work I do, anything can happen at any time. In these situations, it can be scary for a female."
When Daly met the woman and arranged sex, he told her: "It could get rough."
"I'm not scared of you," she replied.
What followed was a five-hour assault at the YMCA hostel where he was staying, during which she was repeatedly slapped on the face, had her hair pulled and her face grabbed, and was smothered, causing her to feel groggy and gag. It continued in spite of her protests.
The woman's injuries were described in court as "minimal" - redness and pinkness, slight swelling to her face, a stiff neck, and sore lips.
Daly refused a community-based sentence, and would not co-operate in the preparation of a pre-sentence report by probation.
However, Cole urged that a jail term of under six months be imposed - less than the year the Crown was calling for.
"It is important not to overcook these things," she said.
Justice Dunningham said she could not ignore the sexual context of the offending.
She told Daly he had gained pleasure and enjoyment from the assault. It was clear from the woman's evidence at trial and her victim impact statement that she had found the experience "degrading and humiliating".
She noted that Daly had previous convictions for possession of cannabis, theft, driving offences, drink-driving, assault and disorderly behaviour. He has been imprisoned for sexual connection with a young person, and blackmail.
He said he wanted to put this part of his life behind him to live a "more balanced and insightful life with the support of friends and family".
Justice Dunningham jailed him, but did not order him to make an emotional harm payment to the victim because there was not enough information available about that.
She also declined to order the Crown's suggestion for him to undergo post-release counselling for issues about consent related to sex.
She said he had already completed a Stopping Violence programme and probation did not recommend further counselling.
After the sentencing, the Christchurch regional co-ordinator for the Prostitutes' Collective, Anna Reed, said the group would have liked to see Daly get as long a prison sentence as possible.
The victim had been scared for some time after the assault and had not worked.
"It has changed her tremendously," Reed said.
"She doesn't have the confidence she had before the attack. I know that the trial and doing the victim impact statement has been very traumatic for her."
- The Press
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