Assault on girl results in jail

A man who indecently assaulted a 17-year-old girl on New Year's Eve was yesterday jailed for eight months by Judge Michael Turner in the Queenstown District Court, with leave to apply for home detention.

Sean Graeme Duffy (20), bartender, of Cardrona, was earlier convicted in the Queenstown District Court and received a warning under the three strike legislation.

Judge Turner said he was released on bail in February but breached his bail terms four weeks later.

Duffy had met the victim once previously, but did not socialise with her.

About 6.30pm on December 31, Duffy was in the Queenstown CBD and was intoxicated.

He met the victim, they spoke briefly and the victim and her associates walked towards the Queenstown Gardens, followed by Duffy.

Once there he began harassing the public, looking for alcohol.

Judge Turner said the victim next saw Duffy just after 11pm and noticed he was bleeding from a ''gash'' under his eye.

She bought a bottle of water, intending to clean the wound, and found he had passed out under some trees near a stream.

She tried to get him to sit upbut he became aggressive, stood up and fell face first into the stream.

Judge Turner said the victim walked away and sat on a nearby bench seat.

Duffy approached her, grabbed her and started verbally abusing her.

He grabbed her by her arms and held her wrists together with one hand, with the other he ripped her tights and grabbed her genitals.

The teenager eventually managed to run away.

Duffy told police that he was ''very drunk'' and could not remember anything about the incident, but acknowledged meeting the woman.

The victim had a large bruise on her upper thigh, her body ached due to the struggle with him and her clothing was damaged.

Judge Turner said she suffered psychologically and emotionally and was particularly upset because ''she was being a Good Samaritan and trying to help you''.

Now she no longer left her house by herself.

While Duffy had a significant history, 17 of his 21 prior convictions occurred in 2011 at a point where his life was ''out of control'' and he was drinking heavily.

He was unemployed and had led an ''unstructured lifestyle'', one which revolved around alcohol.

''Unless you face up to the extent of your problems and [you are] prepared to accept the advice of experts ... your drinking is likely to continue, with the inevitable result that you will reoffend.''

From a starting point of 12 months' imprisonment, Judge Turner found there were no personal aggravating factors and mitigating factors of his young age and guilty plea reduced the sentence to eight months'.

He would be subject to standard and special release conditions including not to possess, consume or use alcohol or drugs; to attend assessment for departmental programme, counselling, treatment as directed; to undertake a psychological assessment with a departmental psychologist and any other treatment and or counselling as directed.

He was also ordered to pay $20 reparation by April 14 and $500 emotional harm reparation by instalment of $20 per week, the first payment to be made within a month of his release from prison ''to endeavour as far as money can to address the emotional harm the victim has suffered as a consequence of your behaviour''.