Lengthy jail term mulled in sex case

An open-ended sentence of preventive detention may be considered for a 36-year-old Timaru man who used a video recorder and cellphone to document much of his sex offending against six children.

The man pleaded guilty to 15 child sex charges in the High Court in Christchurch after a series of appearances before Justice Graham Panckhurst, interspersed with discussions with his lawyer, Tony Greig.

The offending occurred in South Canterbury.

Justice Panckhurst granted interim name suppression at the request of Timaru Crown prosecutor Andrew McRae. The order may be reconsidered at sentencing.

The man had admitted a further 11 charges at a hearing last year.

The 26 charges he has admitted comprise of five sexual violations by rape, six sexual violations by unlawful sexual connection, 11 of doing an indecent act on a child, two of doing an indecent act on a young person, and two of doing an indecent act with intent to insult or offend.

Mr McRae said the Crown asked for the necessary reports to be prepared so that a preventive detention sentence could be considered at sentencing. That would involve interviews and reports by two health assessors, usually a psychiatrist and a psychologist.

The reports will consider the man's risk of future similar offending.

Justice Panckhurst remanded the defendant in custody to May 7 for sentencing in the High Court in Timaru. He asked for the health assessors' reports, and a pre-sentence report.

The Crown said the offending involved four girls and two boys and took place over several years.

The man had a digital camera and could take photographs on his cellphone. He used them to take a large number of photographs and videos of children playing and involved in normal activities.

But he also began encouraging and instructing a girl aged 5 or 6 to expose her genitals so he could take pictures. Police found 151 photographs and 11 videos on a compact disc.

He photographed himself raping the girl while she appeared to be sleeping, and took two photographs of another rape.

He took videos of other instances of sexual violation, a photograph of sexual conduct between two of the children, and individual photographs.

The Crown also told of offending against a further girl over an eight-year period, involving rape, sexual conduct, and unlawful sexual connection. The man repeatedly had intercourse with her and took photographs of her genitals and breasts.

The Crown said the man's computer equipment included many references to images in the file data, but these photographs have not been found.

He took photographs of a boy's buttocks and genitals.

He paid a girl $6 to let him take a photograph of her genitals, but that photograph has also not been found. He tried to get a girl to touch his genitalia but she refused.

The Crown detailed touching and photographing involving another girl, aged 7, and also her rape and sexual violation.

The man told police that he was disgusted by what he had done. He was ashamed, he said, but was going through a difficult time and needed help.

He said he did not tell anyone because he "didn't want to do time".

The police are asking for confiscation of all the cellphones, computer recordings, storage devices, and cameras they have seized. The man remains in custody pending sentencing.

The Timaru Herald