Jail for assaults on children

Invercargill District Court.
A WOMAN who was indecently assaulted as a child said she and other victims were free and could now move on in life knowing the man who abused them had been caught, a court heard last Wednesday.
The man, who has permanent name suppression, appeared for sentence in the Invercargill District Court on four charges of indecent assault on a child under 12, in Otago, Southland and Australia, and one charge of sexual conduct with a young person under 16 in Australia.
The offending happened between July 1996 and July 2000 and was in relation to three victims, male and female.
The man pleaded guilty to two of the indecent assault charges, and was found guilty of the three other charges at a jury trial in Invercargill last year.
The woman, who read out her victim impact statement, said she had gone through pain and fear every time the man forced her to do the foul acts and had suffered pain and anxiety her whole life as a result.
She said the man had lived a healthy, wealthy 57 years, while she had struggled through hers.
He was responsible for her failed relationships, her alcohol and drug addictions and her not being able to trust anyone with her children.
She said she had been treated as a bad child her whole life, had been sent away to family members’ homes, health camps and respite care and that she had accumulated a list of convictions.
‘‘My behaviour issues were caused by you,’’ she said.
She believed her cancer was caused by stress following the attacks and both the illness and having her children taken from her by Oranga Tamariki were a result of the man’s offending.
‘‘You have done more damage than you will ever understand.’’
The man could not look at the victim as she turned around to personally address him while giving her statement.
‘‘You can’t hurt us no more, we are free,’’ she said.
‘‘We can now move ahead in life knowing you have been caught.’’
Judge Brian Callaghan said a report provided to the court stated the man had also been a victim of sexual abuse when he was young.
‘‘I think it is not any revelation to me that people who are offended against like you say you were, go on to reoffend.’’
 However, the man still did not agree with the jury’s verdicts of guilty on the three charges heard at trial which made it difficult for the judge to give any discount for remorse to the man’s sentence.
 At trial, a victim recollected she had been assaulted on hundreds of occasions, however it was more likely to be in the 10s or 20s, he said.
While 80% of the offending had happened over the children’s clothing, the assault on a boy and other assaults did not, Judge Callaghan said.
‘‘The judge did not buy into explanations the man had just been checking a child’s sexual function was in order or teaching a girl a lesson about why she should wear underwear.
While two of the victims wanted the man to be named, the third victim did not and therefore the judge had no choice but to grant the offender permanent name suppression.
Judge Callaghan sentenced the man to 26 months’ jail with his name to be entered on the child sex offender register.