Father jailed for raping daughter

Last updated 09:20 24/07/2014

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A father with an intellectual disability has been sentenced to 4 years 7 months imprisonment for raping his then 4-year-old daughter and indecently assaulting her.

The man, who has automatic name suppression, appeared before Judge Tony Zohrab yesterday in the Nelson District Court.

The court heard that the man raped the child in the presence of the girl's slightly older brother. The rape took place while the man was bathing with the children. All three assaults took place between April to December 2011.

Defence lawyer Steven Zindel argued there was little or no impact on the 4 year old victim and there was no coercion.

"There's not the coercion, I know that is because she is young. There is also no immediate effect on her."

However, he said it was a "gross" act.

He pointed to other cases which he deemed worse, including violent coercion and home invasion.

Judge Zohrab said the situations could not be compared and this was a serious breach of trust as the girl was very vulnerable.

"You are meant to be protecting her from things like this."

The man had an intellectual disability and a low IQ however, he knew the difference between right and wrong, Judge Zohrab said.

He said it was a "very serious offence which involved serious violence," and there was a high level risk of further offending on pre-pubescent children.

The son said he saw one indecent act and then the man volunteered information on the rape as well as another indecent act.

When sentencing the man, Judge Zohrab said he was taking into account the man had a mental disability, pleaded guilty and volunteered information to the police.

He said he was "sympathetic" to the man's own sexual abuse history.

"You have also been a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of your father. I am sympathetic, as this has undoubtedly shaped your thinking."

However, he said the man knew what he did was wrong, and needed to be held to account to the impact the rape would have on the victim, family and community.

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- The Nelson Mail

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