'Simple fun' ends in jail

AARON LEAMAN
Last updated 05:00 14/02/2013

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A Thames man who encouraged his three granddaughters to expose themselves in order to win his favour, initially told police his deviant behaviour was a bit of simple fun.

For more than a decade, the man offended against his granddaughters, dismissing his actions as a "joke".

His behaviour, which took place during a 13-year period, ranged from telling smutty sex jokes through to indecent touching. He also encouraged his granddaughters, who were aged between 8 and 24 during the time of the offences, to expose themselves when they asked a favour from him.

But defence counsel Mark Sturm told the Hamilton District Court yesterday his client now appreciated the seriousness of his actions and the harm it caused his extended family.

Only a shock of white hair was visible from above the dock railing as the man, 58, whose identity has been permanently suppressed, bowed his head and listened to the details of his offending. He had earlier pleaded guilty to nine counts of indecent assault.

Crown prosecutor Jessica Tarrant characterised the man's actions as "premeditated, persistent and repeated", and suggested the impact on his young victims could be incalculable.

She said the man, who was described as a respected volunteer in his community, had effectively robbed his granddaughters of the joy and innocence of childhood.

Any credit given to the man for previous good character should be placed against the seriousness and length of his offending, she said.

Mr Sturm said his client appreciated he would eventually be caught but could not impose "boundary restrictions" on his interactions with his granddaughters.

During a police interview the man told a detective his behaviour was "a joke and having some fun".

But Mr Sturm said his client was genuinely remorseful and had twice attempted suicide.

Judge Peter Spiller imposed a 3 1/2-years' jail sentence.

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- Waikato Times

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