Man who sexually abused 7-year-old loses appeal

A man who snuck into the bedroom of a 7-year-old child and sexually abused her has failed to have his convictions overturned.

Dylan James Olsen was 19 last year when he was jailed for 21 months before the Dunedin District Court, after a jury found him guilty of two counts of sexual violation.

Those verdicts were challenged in the Court of Appeal, which on Friday released its decision to uphold the convictions.

In November last year, defence counsel Anne Stevens QC argued in the appellate court that the convictions should be quashed because there had been a miscarriage of justice.

The victim’s identification of Olsen was suspect, she said, and thus the verdicts of the jury were unreliable.

The incident in question took place in 2015 when Olsen — then a teenager — was staying the night at the girl’s home.

The allegation was raised three years later when the victim told her grandmother what had happened.

The girl said she never wanted a boy to touch her again.

In a video interview with police, the victim described the ways Olsen had sexually abused her and said he may have spent as long as 20 minutes in her room.

Once it was over, he asked her if she liked it.

She said she had not and later told police it "really hurt".

Before Olsen left the room for his makeshift bed on the couch, he told the girl not to inform her mother of what had happened, the court heard.

While the victim initially said it had been the only night her attacker had spent in the home, other family members described him as a more frequent visitor.

The girl described Olsen’s appearance.

"Well he had black hair and I think he has pimples and he’s tall, yeah. That’s all I can remember," she said.

Mrs Stevens claimed the girl did not know him well enough to be sure he had been the one who sexually assaulted her.

Further, she said that as the door to her room had been closed, the girl could not have been certain it was Olsen who had joined her in there during the night.

However, Justices Sarah Katz, John Wild and Christian Whata decided that the victim’s evidence was reliable.

"Viewed in totality, her identification evidence was clear, largely consistent and she identified sufficient features of Mr Olsen’s appearance to eliminate all other possible suspects who were present at [the victim’s] home that night," Justice Katz said.

There had been no miscarriage of justice, the court ruled.

At Olsen’s sentencing, Judge Michael Turner noted the troubled life he had had.

His upbringing had been unstable and while that could never excuse the offending, the judge said, it provided a context.

Both parents had effectively abandoned him, the court heard, and he had since struggled with substance abuse and violent sexual behaviour.




Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter