A convicted child molester who skipped the country on bail
has been sentenced to seven years and four months jail after
he was returned to New Zealand by Botswana police.
Christopher Ian Crause used a fake passport to escape his
sentencing last year for the sexual offending against two
girls aged 13 and 14.
In Hamilton District Court today, Judge David Ruth described
Crause as an "aging lothario'' who manipulated his vulnerable
victims with attention, alcohol and cannabis in exchange for
Judge Ruth said the 48-year-old ensnared the girls in a
premeditated and targeted way and was clearly grooming the
pair for sex once they turned 16.
He said Crause, who employed one of the girls and acted as a
guardian for the other, had also set his sights on another
girl when he was convicted at a jury trial of 10 charges
including indecent assault, unlawful sexual connection with
underage girls and supplying cannabis.
Crause's lawyer said a fear of going to jail and panic
prompted Crause to flee the court's jurisdiction in May last
year, flying to Australia on the fake passport and then onto
his native South Africa where he intended to stay.
However Judge Ruth said Crause's escape abused the trust of
the court after the judge granted him bail on humanitarian
grounds because of Crause's "serious heart condition''.
"The Crown says this is a cynical and premeditated attempt to
avoid the outcome of your trial.''
Judge Ruth said Crause showed no remorse and a lack of
insight into his offending and he believed the seven years
and four months prison sentence was not excessive.