Appeal over sentence rejected

A former Nelson teacher convicted of indecently assaulting young girls has had his appeal against his sentence dismissed.

He was jailed for two years, three months in January, having been found guilty of indecently assaulting five girls aged 6 to 12. These offences happened in a supermarket, a games arcade and at a public swimming pool.

Lawrence Shaw, through his counsel Tony Bamford, argued the judge's sentencing starting point was too high and that insufficient credit was given for personal circumstances reducing the culpability of the offending.

He said Judge Tony Zohrab should have adopted a starting point of 18 months for the games arcade offending, not two years.

However, the Appeal Court judgment given by Justice Wild found that the two years starting point was not out of line with other cases, or manifestly too high.

"Even if the Judge might have started too high at two years - which we do not accept - no exception could be taken with the starting point of two-and-a-half years he adopted for the totality of the offending."

Shaw was sentenced in January but Bamford asked the appeal judges to consider a report from registered clinical psychologist Cristina Fon dated June 12. She considered Shaw met criteria for a diagnosis of Frotteuristic disorder, and that his offending was precipitated by factors including that he was "isolated, depressed, lacking in age appropriate relationship and was experiencing stress at work".

While the Crown objected to the late report being introduced, the judges accepted it "because we do not consider what she says warrants a greater discount in the sentence under appeal".

Justices Wild, Ronald Young and Cooper dismissed the appeal.

Last month the Teachers' Council Disciplinary Tribunal de-registered Shaw.

The Nelson Mail