Eight years' jail on historic sex charges

A Cromwell man has been sentenced to eight years in prison for raping and indecently assaulting a girl over a nine-year period 40 years ago.

Jack Robert Smith (75), formerly of Otematata and Twizel, was sentenced by Judge Phil Moran in the Dunedin District Court yesterday.

A jury trial in the Invercargill District Court last month resulted in Smith being found guilty on one representative charge of rape and two charges of rape, one representative charge of indecent assault on an under 12-year-old and 13 charges of indecent assault on a 12 to 16-year-old.

Judge Moran said Smith had committed a range of indecencies against the girl, known to him, from the time she was 8 until she was 17.

Aggravating factors included the offences occurring in the girl's bedroom in her own home where she should have felt safe.

The offences also took place around the district and graduated to full sexual intercourse when she was 16.

The impact was very significant, pervading her childhood. She was effectively treated like a "sex slave".

This impacted severely on her mental, emotional and psychological health and it was ongoing.

There were no mitigating factors but he acknowledged Smith's age, that he was in delicate health, having been treated successfully for bowel cancer and having urinary problems.

"You will do it hard in prison but you can hardly claim good character having sexually abused ... for nine years."

However, Smith had led a trouble free life apart from that.

He sentenced Smith to eight years' prison for the three charges of rape, and shorter, concurrent terms on the other charges.

Judge Moran told the woman, who was in court, she was courageous.

"I hope you get some sense of closure. While none of this will put it right, it is a step."

Crown prosecutor Craig Power said the woman had suffered depression, self-esteem and anger issues and nightmares.

Defence counsel John Westgate said Smith maintained his innocence and believed a long sentence would be a life sentence given his health issues.


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