Five-year-old victim’s innocence stolen, mother says

A woman told the man who indecently assaulted her 5-year-old daughter that he stole her innocence for his own "selfish, disgusting need", in court yesterday.

Phillip Douglas Hamilton (44) yesterday appeared for sentence in the Invercargill District Court on two charges of indecent assault of two victims, one aged 5, in 2017, and the other aged 12, between 2009 and 2010.

He was found guilty of the charges at a jury retrial held earlier this month with the jury unable to reach a verdict on the other three charges: indecent assault, inducing a sexual act and rape.

Yesterday, Crown prosecutor Riki Donnelly asked for the three remaining charges to be dismissed, offering no evidence for them.

Reading out her victim impact statement in court, the mother of the younger girl, who was now 10, said she had to think long and hard about putting her daughter and son, who also gave evidence, through the trauma of having to relive the event in two trials.

She had to weigh up "not wanting the kids to have to relive this but knowing that you had to be accountable for what you had done".

The repercussions of the indecent assault meant the girl had to be near her mother, would wet her pants, had strained relationships with peers, screamed when she cried and led to her needing to change schools for a fresh start.

"Since the trial she has asked why this happened to her and we can’t give her the answer. How could you do that to a 5-year-old?" the mother said.

"I don’t think you understand the magnitude of what you have done. You stole a little girl’s innocence to fulfil your own selfish, disgusting need."

Originally the man had stood trial on six Crown charges.

Judge Peter Rollo said yesterday one serious charge was withdrawn by the judge during the first trial with Hamilton being found guilty of three further charges.

He was originally sentenced to three years and four months in prison.

However, the defence appealed the jury’s findings and the Crown also counter-appealed regarding the charge which the judge had dismissed during the trial.

Hamilton’s guilty verdicts and sentence were quashed after he had served 14 months of his original sentence and the retrial was held in May this year.

Yesterday, Judge Rollo said he had to take into account time already served after the first trial.

"You deny offending that you are for sentence today but I am satisfied, from having heard the evidence, the jury here was correct in the assessment of your behaviour."

He believed Hamilton showed a pattern of sexual offending against young girls often in risky circumstances and said he needed to take part in meaningful rehabilitation to address his long-term problem.

"You need to deal with it in a sensible way so it does not blight the second part of your life," Judge Rollo said.

Hamilton was sentenced to 21 months’ intensive supervision, 150 hours’ community work, ordered to pay $1500 to each victim, was given a first strike warning and an order made for his name to be included on the Child Sex Offenders Register.



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