Outrage at paedophile's home detention sentence

Rocks were hurled at a lawyer after her convicted paedophile client escaped a prison sentence and was instead granted home detention.

Scenes of outrage and dismay erupted at Tauranga District Court after Trevor Hall was sentenced for sexually assaulting a seven-year-old girl.

Judge Peter Rollo said Hall, 60, groomed the girl and her mother, using his poor health to gain their sympathy and his position in the church to gain their trust.

Yesterday he was sentenced on four charges of indecent assault on a child.

The court heard that on January 26, Hall took the girl into his home where he exposed himself, encouraged her to expose herself, masturbated in front of her and induced her to touch his penis.

Judge Rollo made the unusual move of detailing Hall's offences following an angry outburst from a man in the public gallery who alleged Hall had had sex with the girl.

The judge said he had deliberately avoided referring to the details of Hall's offending but was obliged to after the man's outburst.

The victim's mother sobbed while Judge Rollo spoke of how Hall had groomed the pair, causing the mother to offer him assistance out of "Christian charity" and trust him with the well-being of her daughter.

"That no doubt will be a decision that she will regret for a long time and that regret has been brought about by your criminal offending, which was disgusting and perverted."

The fact that Hall had offended in a similar way before - he was convicted in Australia 12 years ago - was relevant but he was being sentenced purely as a result of this year's offences, Judge Rollo said, adding that the Sentencing Act required him to chose the least restrictive outcome which still met the necessary sentencing purposes and principles.

He emphasised the point made by defence lawyer Rebecca Plunket who said because of Hall's advanced emphysema a sentence of imprisonment would be "disproportionately severe".

"I consider that a sentence of [12 months] home detention will bring you to account but perhaps more importantly it will enable a programme of rehabilitation to be put in place," Judge Rollo said.

Hall was also fined $2000 for emotional harm and forbidden from having contact with any person under the age of 16 unless under the supervision of an approved adult.

Outside the court, supporters of the victim's mother spoke of their disbelief and disappointment. Anticipating Hall's imminent departure from the court, members of the group gathered outside the main doors and side exits.

A young man threw a rock at Hall's lawyer as she ran for her car and was then arrested.

The victim's mother said she felt offended and disgusted at the judge's decision.

"The people here ... in Tauranga, they don't know if he's going to do it again, who's going to take responsibility for that decision?

"I'm absolutely disgusted, I just feel like throwing up."

Hall was removed from the courthouse in a police van almost an hour-and-a-half after he was sentenced, escaping the attention of those waiting for him.

At Hall's last court appearance two weeks ago, he was punched in the face as he left the courthouse.

The man who hit him, Danny Te Amo Walker, was later fined.

- Joseph Aldridge of the Bay of Plenty Times

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