Man jailed for raping woman in hospital

Southland Hospital. Photo: ODT Files
Southland Hospital. Photo: ODT Files
An Invercargill man who raped a woman while she was recovering in hospital from surgery has been jailed for eight years and a month.

Robert Matti Neho appeared in the Invercargill District Court yesterday after being found guilty by a jury on January 28. 

He was acquitted on two other violation charges, two of kidnapping, assault with intent to injure and assaulting a female.

The offence happened on July 16, 2017, at Southland Hospital. The victim also had a protection order against the 49-year-old man, the court heard.

Judge Mark Callaghan said the woman was naked and preparing to shower, when the defendant approached from behind and grabbed her by the breast. She said ‘‘no’’ but he told her to be quiet. The victim continued to refuse his advances but Neho pushed her into the toilet area and forced her against the sink.

‘‘She was unable to move,’’ Judge Callaghan said.

In evidence, she said she had done it to avoid angering the defendant. Neho also pleaded guilty to breaching a protection order, stemming from a meeting on July 3.

Crown prosecutor Mike Brownlie said the defendant had a history of assaulting females.

‘‘[His criminal history] indicates a consistently violent approach towards women.’’

Counsel Sonia Vidal said his previous convictions should not be considered and there was ‘‘no additional violence associated to the intercourse’’.

Judge Callaghan said there could be no ambiguity over the issue of consent.

‘‘She said very clearly ‘no’ for him during all intercourse.’’

The judge sentenced him to eight years and one month and issued him with a warning under the three-strikes legislation.

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