Nelson crossdresser sentenced for indecent assault

A Nelson man dressed up as a woman before taking to the streets and indecently assaulting a teenager last year, a court has heard.

Nelson freezer-hand Michael Gibbs, 49, was sentenced in Nelson District Court yesterday to home detention for eight months. He was also ordered to pay $350 reparation to his victim.

He had earlier admitted indecent assault on a female aged over 16 and carrying out an indecent act with intent to offend, the Nelson Mail reported.

Judge Paul Whitehead refused a request for name suppression.

He said that on November 23 last year, Gibbs left home wearing women's clothing. He went to a secluded area where he could watch traffic and pedestrians without being seen.

Gibbs removed his "wig and bottom clothing" and approached an 18-year-old woman from behind, grabbing her arm and saying something to her.

The terrified woman ran off and waved down a taxi.

A pre-sentence report showed Gibbs had been treated for depression and anxiety and was a cannabis smoker.

Judge Whitehead said the offending was serious because of the effect on the victim. He took into consideration Gibbs' guilty plea and lack of prior convictions.

Gibbs' lawyer Steven Zindel said Gibbs was a "virtual first offender".

He had "major psychological issues" and recently completed 10 sessions with a psychologist. He was a man of sincerity who was very ashamed and disgusted by the charges and his general behaviour, Mr Zindel said.