Paedophile sentenced to further three years

Last updated 05:00 05/07/2012

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A Central Otago paedophile already serving preventive detention has been jailed again. Now, the 64-year-old may never be released from prison.

Warren Kenneth Johnston's latest child victim is now a woman in her 40s. She was in the High Court at Christchurch yesterday to tell him about the effects he had on her life, to glare at him and to see him jailed for three years by Justice Lang.

The sentence will effectively lengthen Johnston's preventive detention by a year because it will stop him being considered by the Parole Board for that period.

But he may never be released, even though he has already served 15 years since preventive detention was imposed in the High Court at Wellington in 1997.

He has done the Kia Marama programme for sex offenders twice, during successive jail sentences. He did not impress with his performance the first time around, soon after the programme began about 1990, and he continued to offend.

Johnston had "a little more success" on a later course, Justice Lang said, but a psychological report prepared for yesterday's sentencing pointed to continuing difficulties.

"It is clear from the report from the psychologist that you have a considerable way to go before the parole authorities can feel confident in releasing you back into the community," the judge said.

"It may be, as your counsel says, that you are never released."

Johnston had admitted offending in Alexandra in the 1970s and 1980s.

He had admitted two charges of raping a girl aged under 12, and three charges of indecencies with her.

The woman said in her victim-impact statement that she had made her complaints as a result of a breakdown about five years ago.

It had taken many years for her to get over being scared of Johnston. "I now want to look him in the eye and know I'm not scared of him."

She still slept with the light on, and she still had nightmares. Justice Lang decided against a further preventive detention term, and had to impose a sentence that was in line with sentences imposed at the time. Maximum terms have been increased since this offending.

Defence counsel Michael Starling said imposing a prison term now would delay Johnston's next appearance before the Parole Board.

"It is quite likely he will never be released from prison, but that's a Parole Board decision and not for this court," he said.

Johnson first offended sexually with an indecent assault on a boy in 1972 when he was aged 24. This was followed by further convictions in 1982 involving indecencies with boys, a jail term in 1990 and preventive detention in 1997.

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Justice Lang said the sentencing yesterday may be seen as "something of an academic exercise" given the sentence that Johnston was serving, but he said it would be wrong in principle to impose a sentence that effectively imposed no penalty, and he jailed Johnston for three years.

- The Southland Times


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