Sex offender held in Philippines

BY EMILY WATT
Last updated 05:00 09/12/2009

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A repeat sex offender who met a woman on an internet dating site and abused her young daughters has been picked up in the Philippines after fleeing New Zealand while on parole for another offence.

David Stanley Tranter, 59, who has a string of sex convictions, has been wanted since 2007 when he was freed from prison and placed on extended supervision orders – conditions placed on the most serious sex offenders for up to 10 years.

The Corrections Department said it could not seize passports and did not have the authority to place alerts on offenders' passports.

Corrections Minister Judith Collins is now looking at whether that law should be changed.

Tranter was jailed for three years for the indecent assaults of two girls, aged 11 and 13, in 2000, after beginning a relationship with their mother through an internet dating agency.

At sentencing, the court was told that he had a child-sex conviction in 1968. Just six weeks after being freed from that jail term, in March 2003, he assaulted a 16 year-old girl in a daylight attack on a Christchurch street.

In 2004, he appealed against his three-year sentence, but the Court of Appeal increased his sentence to four years.

In 2006, the Parole Board heard he was at high risk of re-offending and he served his full term. He was freed in March 2007 and placed under an extended supervision order, which allows child sex offenders to be monitored for up to 10 years.

Five months after his release he fled the country. Police issued a warrant for his arrest in August 2007 for breaching his parole and extended supervision order.

Lawyer Floro Balato, from the Philippines Commission of Immigration, said Tranter had been in a detention facility since his arrest in June for failing to present his passport or other travel documents to immigration officials in Davao City. Officials had also been made aware of his sex crimes.

"He initially falsely claimed that he was an Australian," Mr Balato said. Tranter could be deported to New Zealand in about two weeks.

Corrections community probation and psychological services general manager, Katrina Casey, said because Tranter had served his full sentence, he could not be recalled to prison.

But if he were convicted of breaching parole or his extended supervision order, he could be sentenced to up to two years in jail.

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- The Dominion Post

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