Sex offender watered down drug test to avoid prison

A sex offender who watered down his urine to dodge a drug test has avoided a return to prison.

Karl Brian Roper (31) was released from his last stint behind bars in May last year, imposed after he breached an extended supervision order (ESO).

On that occasion he was barred from contact with a young man who was then found naked in Roper's bed 15 minutes later.

And it only took him four months of freedom to breach again, the Dunedin District Court heard yesterday.

The order - made by the court in 2016 - allowed Corrections to keep tabs on Roper for a decade because of the risk he posed of further sexual offending.

Reports from his 2012 sentencing before the High Court at New Plymouth described how Roper sat in the cab of a truck outside a Whanganui home and enticed two children in with an offer of mint lollies before groping them.

There were further molestation episodes in Stratford and New Plymouth, it was reported at the time.

The ESO to which Roper is subject specifies that he is barred from consuming drugs other than alcohol, and even then he may only drink in the presence of his brother and with the prior approval of Probation.

Six weeks after his release from prison the defendant failed a pre-employment drug test after low levels of THC - the active ingredient in cannabis - were found in his system.

Roper claimed he had unwittingly consumed some cake which contained the drug and he was given a warning.

On September 10, the defendant was again required to undertake a drug test.

The results showed he had tried to dilute his sample and he was given another two hours to submit a test.

Again, Roper had THC in his body and he was formally charged with breaching the ESO.

At the time he told Probation he may have failed the test because of the second-hand smoke from his housemates.

Yesterday, defence counsel Jim Takas admitted his client had been "smoking a bit of pot".

"If you wish to keep breaching the terms of your ESO, you will be sentenced to imprisonment," Judge Michael Turner said.

"Consuming mind-altering drugs raises the risk of offending."

He asked Roper if he knew why he was subject to the stringent terms of the ESO.

"Because I offended," the defendant answered.

"No, to protect the public," the judge said.

Roper was now living in "specialist accommodation" and if he was incarcerated, his spot would be lost.

It was only that, Judge Turner said, that saved him from a return to prison.

Roper was sentenced to three months' home detention.