'Cover for me': False alibi for attack on ex fails

When Jessie Lee McNeil De Jonge received a text from his mate saying "cover for me", he knew what to do.

The 29-year-old went straight to police and told them Jason Chapman (32) had spent the evening with him and his then-partner, Anita Tovell-Soundy.

"That was plainly a lie," Judge John Macdonald told the Dunedin District Court yesterday.

"And you repeated that lie."

De Jonge met police on April 12 to reinforce his position with a written statement saying Chapman had never left his house.

But on the night in question — a week earlier — Chapman had actually gone to visit his ex-partner at her South Dunedin home.

He was on a sentence of intensive supervision at the time that barred him from contacting the woman.

At the house, Chapman argued with the victim, then followed her into a toilet, where she had taken her daughter. He punched her in the back of the head, then paced around the lounge yelling that he did not care the children had witnessed the violence.

The woman reported the crime to police and while at the station, Chapman sent the message to De Jonge requesting help.

Within days, however, Tovell-Soundy folded and admitted to officers she had been part of the cover-up because she "felt pressured to provide the statement".

De Jonge pleaded guilty to conspiring to pervert the course of justice and Judge Macdonald yesterday noted he was also under an extended supervision order (ESO).

Such orders allow Corrections to monitor sex offenders  considered to be a danger to the community without strict oversight. De Jonge’s ESO would lapse in 2022, the court heard.

While he was assessed as having a high risk of reoffending, Probation noted his attitude had  improved recently and his offending had tailed off in both frequency and seriousness.

"Perhaps it’s a case of better late than never," defence counsel Andrew Dawson said.

De Jonge was also convicted on a charge of driving while disqualified — his fourth such offence.

He was sentenced to six months’ home detention and 150 hours’ community work.

Judge Macdonald imposed a driving disqualification of one year.

Tovell-Soundy will be sentenced in the Wellington District Court next week.

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