Discharge without conviction over indecent act

A Wakatipu man who claimed he did not intend for his neighbours to see him masturbating has been granted a discharge without conviction.

The 31-year-old, whose name was permanently suppressed last year, appeared in the Queenstown District Court on Wednesday.

The police summary of facts said the man’s female neighbour was standing on her driveway on the morning of December 27, 2022, when she saw the defendant masturbating in the street-facing doorway of his home.

Despite seeing her, he continued with the act, and only withdrew from sight after her husband joined her on the driveway. Police were called and he was charged with doing an indecent act.

At a hearing last July, prosecuting Sergeant Ian Collin told Judge Russell Walker police had received complaints about similar behaviour by the defendant at the same property twice in 2022 and once at a different address in 2021.

Sgt Collin said the man’s employment prospects would not be affected by a conviction.

Permanent name suppression was contrary to the principle of open justice, and the "extreme hardship" test had not been met.

Counsel Tanya Surrey said the defendant and his family had already suffered consequences from his offending.

Oranga Tamariki were notified, their landlord had evicted them because of rumours the defendant was a paedophile, and another family member had been harassed after being mistaken for him, Ms Surrey said.

The defendant had no previous convictions, and had been doing quite well despite "unique personal circumstances".

Judge Walker told the defendant he did not believe his assertion he had not intended to be seen.

"You’ve done this before in front of some neighbours, and you were warned by police.

"That indicates to me a degree of exhibitionism on your part."

However, he took into account the defendant’s early guilty plea and personal circumstances.

A psychologist’s report said he suffered from depression and had a drinking problem.

He indicated he would grant a discharge if he completed six sessions of alcohol counselling, saw a GP about his depression, abstained from alcohol and paid $500 to a charity.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Ms Surrey said the defendant had not be able to get alcohol counselling as he had been told by Health New Zealand he did not qualify, and could not afford to pay for it himself.

However, he had paid $500 to a charity.

Judge Walker granted the discharge, but warned the defendant of the consequences of repeating his behaviour.