A man who sexually violated a 73-year-old Dargaville woman in
her home, dressed in some of her clothes, beat her up then
drove off in her car has been sentenced to nine years in
Talaiasi Tiueti Kata Finau, 25, a Dargaville meatworker,
previously pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual violation,
disfiguring with intent to cause grievous bodily harm,
aggravated robbery, reckless driving and failing to stop on
October 15 last year.
Justice Rodney Hansen said it was violent sexual offending
and made an order Finau must serve at least four-and-a-half
years before he is eligible for parole.
He also warned Finau if he was convicted of another serious
violent crime after his release he would serve out that
sentence without parole and if convicted of murder he would
be sentenced to life imprisonment.
The court heard how Finau had been drinking and smoking
cannabis, had gone to a party and then on his way home about
4am had stumbled through the garden of the elderly woman.
Finau tried the back door but it was locked and as he walked
around the side of the house he fell into the swimming pool.
Finau went through an unlocked ranchslider, stripped naked
and walked upstairs where the woman was sleeping. When the
woman woke she told Finau she had money in her purse and took
him downstairs and tried to get him out. He physically
assaulted her and sexually violated her a number of times
throughout the attack.
After dressing himself in her clothes, Finau forced the woman
downstairs to the garage and made her show him where her car
keys were. He tried unsuccessfully to force the woman into
the laundry and she tried to escape.
From that point she remembers nothing but Finau told police
he beat her. Eventually she crawled on her hands and knees to
a neighbour's house.
Finau stole the car and members of the public alerted police
to his erratic driving. Police chased him, eventually
stopping Finau in Wellsford.
Since the attack the woman had had surgery and plastic
surgery and had lost her sense of smell. She was unable to
eat solid food for eight weeks and had been left disfigured.
Finau had been in New Zealand since 2006. He was married with
a six-year-old boy but the wife is with their son in Tonga.
Crown prosecutor Mike Smith said preventive detention was
applicable in this case because of the violence, direct
sexual attacks, the use of weapons and the home invasion.
"This was a truly terrifying crime committed on a member of
society that deserves protection," Mr Smith said.
Defence layer Richard Garbett said Finau lost two jobs in New
Zealand because of his substance abuse.
- Kristin Edge, Northern Advocate