Groped limo driver felt 'dignity and soul robbed'

A prominent Hawke's Bay businessman has been sentenced to community work for indecently assaulting a Hummer limo driver after partying at a charity boxing event.

Rodney Green, 65, appeared today in Napier District Court. He was sentenced to 175 hours' community work and ordered to pay $3000 to his victim, after he was found guilty of two counts of indecent assault.

A jury found the Green guilty in March on charges of indecently touching the woman's breast and attempting to kiss her.

The victim was driving a Hummer limousine to the Bluewater Hotel in Napier, which Green owns, following a boozy party at a charity boxing event in January 2012 at Taradale's Pettigrew-Green Arena, a venue sponsored by, and named after, Green.

Crown prosecutor Clayton Walker said Green's "sexual innuendo and banter" was not only indecent but "disgusting" and "painful", as described in the victim's impact statement.

Judge David Smith said the victim, in her 30s, was now receiving counselling as a result of the incident.

"She was left belittled, broken and she felt her dignity and her soul were robbed from her that night."

"It was her career, she needed and wanted that job and her confidence has been shattered, her dreams and aspirations robbed," Judge Smith said.

He added the victim was forced to "endure the pressure" of being a witness in the trial and it has taken several months before she has been able to drive again.

Judge Smith quoted the victim impact statement which read: "What a coward of a man you are for not taking responsibility for your actions."

He said Green had breached the woman's trust, who was his employee at the time, and had made her workplace environment "unsafe".

Green's lawyer, Paul Mabey, QC, pleaded to Judge Smith that the mitigating factors of Green having no previous offending and because he was a significant contributor to the community would deter a harsher sentence.

Judge Smith said although they were mitigating factors they only were "to a limited extent".

"Your past good deeds do not equate to good behaviour cards you can play at a later time," Judge Smith told Green.

"The difficulty for you is you continue to deny your guilt and show no remorse," he said. "Confining you to your home will likely be little imposition to yourself."

Judge Smith said he had a "responsibility" given the victim was undergoing counselling to impose harm and reparation costs. Green was sentenced to 175 hours of community work and $3000 to be paid to his victim.

Green refused to comment when approached by Hawke's Bay Today outside the courtroom, and declined to answer if he believed the sentence was fair.

Green's victim also respectfully declined to comment, and her case manager said the victim's impact statement spoke on her behalf.

- By Sam Hurley of Hawke's Bay Today