Ex-teacher convicted of sex crime not on register

A former West Coast school teacher who indecently touched a nine-year-old girl seven years ago will not be placed on the sex offenders register because he was a "low risk" of reoffending, the Greymouth District Court has heard.

The man had previously admitted doing an indecent act on a child aged under 12, between August 31 and September 30, 2012.

He was sentenced to six months' community detention and placed on intensive supervision for two years.

He had been granted interim name suppression and the judge on Wednesday ordered that it continue, although he said it would lapse later this year.

The reasons for the suppression, which also prevents the release of all other details, cannot be published.

Lawyer Marcus Zintl said the offending was low level and the touching of the child was above her clothing and he did not use his tongue when he kissed her.

"His actions were spontaneous and he is low risk of reoffending," Mr Zintl said.

The man had stopped teaching girls the day of the offending, and he was now working on a farm.

Mr Zintl suggested the offending was "somewhat opportunistic ... with an element of spontaneity".

"The man also apologised to the girl's family."

Crown prosecutor Mitchell McClenaghan said it was a breach of trust -  "he was the girl's teacher".

Judge Neave said having read the victim impact statements, which were not read out in court, it was clear the offending had, had a "very significant" impact on everyone involved.

He said the man at the time would ask the girl to do tasks for him and he had treated her as a "favourite".

"On one occasion the man went to a room beside the classroom and asked the girl to get him when the class was going to restart. When the girl went to him, the judge said he pulled the girl on top of him and kissed her a number of times.

"You cuddled her, felt her bottom and you kissed her face and mouth hard. She was scared and managed to get away from you.

"You also exposed yourself (and) although that may have been an accident there was some degree of arousal."

The girl told her mother what had happened and that was when the offender had apologised to the girl's father.

"This was a significant breach of trust. The girl was nine years old, she was vulnerable. You abused her trust as a school teacher and a family friend."

Following the incident, the victim felt guilt and had struggled with her school work.

Judge Neave said the victim had confused feelings and conflicting emotions.

"She is still young, and with the appropriate level of treatment, hopefully the effect with not be permanent."

The pre-sentence report was largely favourable, and the man was taking full responsibility for his actions.

"While the offending did involve significant abuse of trust, there was no clear evidence of premeditation," the judge said.

The man was given credit and a reduced sentence for his early guilty plea, previous "impeccable character", no history of offending, being assessed a low risk of reoffending, and the offending being deemed at the lower end of the scale of the charge.

Judge Neave refused a request from probation to place a special condition on the man which would have stopped him from having any contact with children.

"What is the purpose of such a condition, other than to make everyone's life more difficult?" Judge Neave asked Probation Services.

A Probation staff member replied that it was the usual special condition placed on sex offenders.


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