Child sex offender appealing again

David Charteris wants the Court of Appeal to hear his case after he was jailed for 14 years in...
David Charteris wants the Court of Appeal to hear his case after he was jailed for 14 years in 2019. PHOTO: CRAIG BAXTER
Two years after the former head of southern Victim Support was jailed for child sex offences, he continues to claim his innocence.

David John Charteris (67), formerly of Dunedin, is serving a 14-year prison sentence for a string of crimes against a pre-teen boy, which took place in 1999 and 2000.

In May, the High Court at Christchurch declined his appeal, both in regards to the validity of the convictions and the length of the sentence.

The Court of Appeal confirmed to the Otago Daily Times that this month Charteris had filed paperwork seeking to continue the legal challenge.

At the previous hearing, counsel Josh Lucas argued his client, who suffered from prostate cancer, would likely die in prison, given the length of the jail term.

But Justice Gerald Nation determined the sentencing judge’s decision to subtract nine months from the man’s sentence for that fact was sufficient.

Likewise, he ruled the 12-month discount for Charteris’ lack of previous convictions was also appropriate.

A slew of other appeal points about how the judge-alone trial in 2019 was conducted were similarly dismissed by Justice Nation.

Charteris headed the southern region’s Victim Support team and spent a decade at the organisation from 2008.

After sentencing, the organisation confirmed it had been anonymously informed about the historical sexual abuse allegations but did not pass that on to police.

Management conceded it ‘‘could have handled this situation better’’.

The court heard Charteris met the victim after the boy’s parents split up in the late 1990s and began helping the mother with child care.

In a statement read at sentencing, the victim said his abuser must have identified him as “easy pickings”.

He now had children of his own, and had experienced significant mental health issues and distrust in others because of his childhood trauma - “a life sentence of guilt, confusion, anger and turmoil’’, he said.

Through 1999, he stayed overnight at Charteris’ Christchurch home several times, which was when the violations began.

And the victim gave evidence about other trips - several to the Waimakariri River and one to Banks Peninsula - where the sex offender sought out isolated areas for the violations to take place.

The final indecency came during a New Year’s camping trip when Charteris abused the victim in his tent as other adults slept just metres away.

It was five years before the victim informed his mother about what had happened and another 11 before police laid charges.

No date has yet been set for the Court of Appeal hearing.

rob.kidd@odt.co.nz 

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