Shaun Kahu Leonard, as he appeared in court last year.
A man who sexually assaulted a young woman in a Dunedin
park last September was on parole at the time from a prison
sentence for serious sexual offending in 2005, the High Court
at Dunedin heard yesterday.
Shaun Kahu Leonard (29) had served seven years of a
nine-and-a-half-year jail term for a rape with
characteristics amounting to deviancy and sadism and had been
out of jail only four months when he attacked the 25-year-old
Dunedin woman on September 24 last year.
Yesterday, he was sentenced to preventive detention for that
offence and must remain in prison for at least five years.
Leonard went voluntarily to his probation officer the day
after the attack and pleaded guilty two weeks later to a
charge of assaulting the woman with intent to commit rape.
His explanation was he had gone to the park, armed with a
knife, with the intention of finding a female to rape -
because he could not ''get a missus''.
A district court judge sent the case to the High Court
because he believed the seriousness of the offending and the
interests of public safety could require consideration of
preventive detention. That sentence allowed the court to set
a minimum period an offender must remain in prison and also
meant an offender could not be released until the parole
board was satisfied he did not pose a significant risk.
Justice John Fogarty said yesterday he was satisfied, on the
basis of detailed psychiatric and psychological reports, that
Leonard would commit another serious sexual or violent
offence if given a finite sentence allowing his release in
five and a-half to six and a-half years.
Crown counsel Richard Smith said it appeared Leonard had ''to
a degree'' deceived psychologists and other professionals in
prison as they believed his attitude had improvedOne of the
two psychiatrists who interviewed him after his guilty plea
to the September offence saw him as a young man with the
potential to improve, but the other expressed concern he
appeared to obtain gratification from sexual violence.
Defence counsel Anne Stevens argued the offence did not have
the deviancy and sadism features of the 2005 attack against a
young woman Leonard did not know but who lived in the same
apartment block. She urged he be given an opportunity to make
positive behavioural changes, with a finite term of
But Justice Fogarty said the clinical reports appeared to
identify a need for sexual release and a history of deviant
or aggressive thought patterns, exacerbated by Leonard's
psychiatric background, as the motivation for the attack.
There were a lot of similarities between the two attacks.
''That's what's disturbing. He had just come out of prison
and offends in a similar way again.''
And the fact Leonard thought he could get away with attacking
a woman in broad daylight, in an open park, showed ''a degree
of dissociation with reality'', the judge said. Reports from
psychiatrists and psychologists detailed Leonard's history of
clinical interventions, something the judge said was directly
relevant to his ability to change during the next few years.
From early childhood, he had behavioural problems including
impulsive oppositional behaviour, speech difficulties and, at
13, he was diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder. At
15, he was referred to Child, Youth and Family services,
because his parents were concerned about his violent
He was later referred to mental health and alcohol services
and he had also received psychological treatment in prison
from 2009 until his release in May last year. What was of
concern to both psychiatrists was not only whether Leonard
was able to change but whether he was willing to change,
Justice Fogarty said.