Jail for 'bizarre, disgusting' indecency

DAVID CLARKSON
Last updated 12:50 05/09/2011

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A man who indecently assaulted a woman by pressing his face against her backside in the parenting section at the New Brighton Library has been jailed.

Philip Broughton, 50, has a long history of indecent behaviour and drink-driving.

He appeared for sentence before Judge Stephen Erber at a Christchurch District Court session inside the men's prison today.

He was imprisoned for two years, three months.

Broughton had denied the indecent assault and had given evidence at a defended hearing where Judge Erber said he had lied. He had since been found guilty.

Defence counsel Rupert Glover said his client had been drunk, could not recall what happened and had "confabulated" when he gave evidence.

He now acknowledged the indecent assault and the pre-sentence report indicated he had expressed empathy for the victim.

Glover urged the judge to accept the probation officer's recommendation for community detention and intensive supervision as Broughton now had a job.

Judge Erber described the indecent assault as "disgusting, bizarre, and humiliating for the victim".

The victim had given evidence about feeling uneasy in Broughton's presence in the library's domestic economy and children's section and kept away from him.

She was looking for a book in the parenting section when she felt something pressing on her bottom. She found Broughton on his knees with his face pressed into her bottom.

"He made no attempt to move, or apologise, and nothing was said," the judge said.

At the trial Broughton maintained that it did not happen and he had been down at that level "looking for books of scientific interest".

"You claimed this event did not occur and the complainant was not telling the truth. It was perfectly clear from the complainant's evidence that she knows a hawk from a handsaw, and what she was telling us was true," said Judge Erber.

He noted Broughton had 10 previous convictions for indecencies or similar offences such as obscene exposure. Broughton was also being sentenced for his ninth and tenth drink-driving convictions.

The judge said the probation officer's recommendation was unacceptable in view of Broughton's record and his offending even though he now expressed his remorse.

"That sorrow might have been better expressed by pleading guilty instead of lying about the matter."

He sentenced Broughton to prison and disqualified him from driving for two years.

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