Sentence reignites call for register

A 17-year jail term for a 67-year-old sex offender has reignited the call for a publicly available register of sex offenders.

Christopher David Williams faced trial in Timaru but was sentenced in Christchurch on Monday.

A non-parole period of seven years and six months was imposed.

Williams was convicted in March on 12 charges: five of rape, four of unlawful sexual connection using his fingers, and three of indecent assault.

The Christchurch District Court heard this week that the two girls he offended against were subject to the abuse at rural South Island locations.

One of the girls had become pregnant and one had been raped when she was heavily pregnant.

The offences were described as premeditated and cruel, with no remorse.

Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Garth McVicar said the case was another example of why a publicly available sex offender register was vital.

"My understanding is that this man has a long history of offending and that his latest victims could have been prevented if his previous history was known."

He said knowledge was power.

"Knowledge of who is living among us and the danger they pose empowers and gives a community the resolve and ability to protect those most at risk - our children.

"I note the police minister has said a publicly available register would force sex offenders underground but this rapist [Williams] relied entirely on being able to keep his activities underground to enable him to continue his evil ways and it appears the minister is sanctioning his behaviour."

McVicar said victims should be a priority and preventing further victims should come before any perceived "rights" of offenders.

He said a sex-offender register, allowing the community to protect the most vulnerable, was a "basic and fundamental human right".

"We at Sensible Sentencing are firm believers that it is an absolute right to know who is convicted in our courts and what they are convicted of - public protection and safety must be paramount.

"Preventing future victims is unconditional and must be enshrined into legislation." 

Taranaki Daily News