A prominent man has escaped conviction and identification on
an indecency charge, almost two and a-half years after the
offence was committed.
The man, now in his late 60s, appeared before Judge David
Saunders, of Christchurch, in the Dunedin District Court
yesterday and accepted a sentence indication of discharge
without conviction, on payment of $6500 reparation to the
Judge Saunders also indicated final name suppression. He said
it was accepted the man had ''carried a bit of a cross'' in
the time since the matter first came before the court.
The case, ''which was going to be diverted'', had taken on a
life of its own and had greatly affected the man and his
family, Judge Saunders said.
Counsel Jonathan Eaton QC, of Christchurch, described the
matter as going through ''quite an extraordinary process''
since starting in Central Otago with diversion.
Almost three years later, after a Court of Appeal hearing,
the case was being resolved in ''almost a similar way'', Mr
The man was pleased to put the stress of the prosecution
behind him. Crown counsel Robin Bates said the Crown did not
consent to either application (for a discharge without
conviction and final name suppression), but neither did it
oppose the applications.
It was a matter for the court, applying the correct
principles, he said.
Of relevance was the offence happened in the woman's home,
there was some abuse of trust, premeditation and harm caused
to the complainant.
In deciding to grant a discharge, Judge Saunders said he
wanted to be clear it was not a case of ''chequebook
justice'', or of the man getting any special recognition
because of who he was.
Rather, it was a logical recognition of the facts.
The judge said he had tried to convey that, although the
complainant had been affected, when looking at the matter
objectively and taking into account the range of behaviours
which came before the courts, the offending was at the lower
end of the scale of seriousness.
Taking all factors into account, his view was a conviction
would be disproportionate to the overall events in the
particular circumstances of the man, his family and his work
And he said such a finding could apply ''even if it had been
the mythical Joe Bloggs in the dock''.
On the question of name suppression, Judge Saunders said he
accepted fully the concept of open justice applied.
The case had been dealt with in open court and he had decided
publication of the man's name and the circumstances of the
matter would bring ''undue consequences'' to the man himself
and to others.
He ordered final suppression of the man's name, occupation
and former occupations, anything likely to lead to his
identity, or cast speculation on any other person of a
similar class or type.