Synthetic cannabis cited as factor in abuse

04:05, Jul 02 2014

A man who was dependent on synthetic cannabis has been jailed for four years and nine months for the sexual abuse of his eight-year-old stepdaughter.

The 25-year-old man's relationship with his partner is now over, and he has written apology letters to the stepdaughter and his own daughter, who was not involved in any offending.

The partner has been urged to seek professional advice about if or when the two girls should be shown the letters.

The man had admitted representative charges of sexual violation and indecent assault, committed in Christchurch last year.

Christchurch District Court Judge David Saunders said there had been an element of grooming of the victim before the sexual offending, by allowing her to see internet pornography.

He granted final suppression of the man's name to protect the identity of his daughter, who has started school.


Judge Saunders read the man a first strike warning under the system that imposes heavier penalties on repeat violent or sexual offenders.

The man has no prior convictions, and the judge said he had manipulated a vulnerable person into satisfying his sexual needs.

Prosecutor Kathy Basire said the Crown was concerned that the man had continued with his "distorted thinking" after doing a Stop programme for sexual offenders.

She believed he had sought to minimise or divert blame for the offending.

Defence counsel Rupert Glover said the man had been brutally frank in his pre-sentence interview and had taken all the blame for the offending.  

"He has bent over backwards to absolve everyone except himself."

Judge Saunders said the man had blamed some of the behaviour on his dependence on synthetic cannabis.

He had abused the girl while in a position of trust, when he was looking after the child at home while his partner was out working.

The offending was discovered when his partner walked in to find him doing a sex act with the girl in the bedroom at the home.

Jailing the man, Judge Saunders urged the prison authorities to plan for him to attend the intensive nine-month Kia Marama programme in prison for sex offenders.

He said the rate of reoffending for people assessed as low risk who did that programme was just 3 per cent, compared to a rate of 37 per cent for reoffending by the general prison population.

Permission was given for the man's psychological assessment report to be passed on to the prison authorities.

The Press