Chch child sex offender gets preventive detention

The man was sentenced last month in the Christchurch District Court. Photo: NZ Herald
Christchurch District Court. Photo: NZ Herald
Warning: Distressing content

A child sex offender with more than 40 convictions for crimes spanning more than three decades has been sentenced to preventive detention for abusing a boy while on an extended supervision order.

Christchurch man David Keith Morgan was sentenced in the High Court at Christchurch on Friday by Justice Melanie Harland.

The 59-year-old had earlier pleaded guilty to one charge of sexual connection with a male under the age of 16 and two charges of breaching the conditions of an extended supervision order (ESO).

According to the summary of facts, Morgan, who is a registered child sex offender, was subject to an ESO at the time of the offending in December 2011.

One condition of his release from prison was for him to not enter into or loiter near any schools, parks, playgrounds, or places where children under the age of 16 congregated or any place defined in writing by a probation officer.

In December 2011, Morgan hid in the men’s public toilets at a park in Christchurch.

He then watched a group of girls and a boy aged between 15 and 16 playing in a carpark and children’s playground area.

As he watched the group through the toilet window he performed a sex act and made "moaning noises". He also spoke quietly to the group in an "attempt to lure them closer," the summary said.

A short time later, "not realising the seriousness of the situation", the victim, who was then 15, entered the men’s toilets while his friends waited outside.

Once inside the toilet block, Morgan opened the cubicle door and pulled the victim inside, closing the door after him.

As the offending took place he asked the victim to invite his friends inside.

Wanting to protect his friends the victim yelled at them not to come inside and to go away.

The victim eventually managed to push Morgan away. Morgan asked the victim if he wanted to do it again, saying he could come to his house and he would pay him money.

The victim pretended to enter Morgan’s number in his phone so that he could leave and exited the toilets in a distressed state.

At the beginning of sentencing, Crown prosecutor Pip Currie said the offending had "devastating effects" on the victim.

The Crown argued Morgan should be sentenced to preventive detention. She said there were several aggravating features of the offending including that he was breaching a condition of his ESO.

She said Morgan had been given a chance to have an ESO and regardless went on to re-offend against a minor.

Morgan had been "very manipulative" in the past in relation to wearing electronic bracelets, Currie said.

Morgan’s lawyer, Andrew McCormick, said his client maintained it wasn’t a "non-consensual scenario".

He argued a sentence of preventive detention was not justified.

"Mr Morgan places himself in a very difficult situation," he said.

"His first failing in my submission is he hasn’t kept himself safe, and put others at risk by virtue of his behaviour."

He added that Morgan had spent five and a half years on an ESO while subject to GPS monitoring without incident other than in 2020 when he took his bracelet off, but did not sexually offend.

McCormick said Morgan had told one of the report writers he had "woken up to his predicament".

Morgan was not in good health, and looked far older than his biological age, McCormick said.

Justice Harland said in August 2022 the Department of Corrections agreed to vary the condition requiring electronic monitoring for Morgan, however he was still subject to special conditions including having to advise his probation officer of where he was going.

Almost four months to the day of having his condition varied the offending occurred.

Justice Harland said while Morgan did not know the victim was 15, he also did not ask him his age.

She had read the victim impact statement, which she described as "overwhelmingly sad".

Morgan had a "sadly extensive history" of offending started in 1979 with 42 convictions for prior sexual offending over a 34-year period, the most recent of which were committed in 2011 and 2013.

"Much of your earlier offending included exposing yourself and masturbating in public but it also includes grooming victims. The targets of your offending have been females as young as 9 years of age through to adult females."

Justice Harland said there were several aggravating features of the offending including the "significant age discrepancy", and the "predatory" nature of the offending.

"It is very clear to me the victim was not a willing participant even if you thought he was."

In determining whether a sentence of prevention detention was justified, Justice Harland said the purpose of such a sentence was to protect the community from those who pose a "significant and ongoing risk" to members of the public.

She said his offending was "escalating and getting worse".

One of the pre-sentence report writers said there was a "high" risk of re-offending, likely in the next 10 years.

"It is particularly concerning that rather than offending reducing with age it’s getting worse."

One of the report writers said electronic monitoring could not be relied on to contain the risk Morgan posed.

Justice Harland said a sentence of preventive detention was necessary to protect the community. She also ordered he serve a minimum period of imprisonment of five years.

SEXUAL HARM

Where to get help:
If it’s an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
If you’ve ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone, contact Safe to Talk confidentially, any time 24/7:
• Call 0800 044 334
• Text 4334
• Email support@safetotalk.nz
• For more info or to web chat visit safetotalk.nz
Alternatively contact your local police station - click here for a list.
If you have been sexually assaulted, remember it’s not your fault.