'Disgusting': Man's sex act in car seen by schoolgirl

A man seen by a schoolgirl performing a sex act in his car in Invercargill has avoided a criminal conviction.

The man, in his 20s, was granted final name suppression in the Invercargill District Court on Monday following a successful application for a discharge without conviction.

The court heard that on October 24 a 15-year-old girl was walking to school when she saw the man in his car.

The defendant stopped what he was doing and drove off after he made eye contact with her.

"I could see what he was doing and it made me feel disgusting and uncomfortable," she said in a statement to the court.

The victim explained that she had to be dropped at the school gate following the incident.

"I should be able to feel safe walking to school," she said.

The man had pleaded guilty to doing an indecent act in Layard St and the police argued he should be convicted.

Prosecutor Carmen Stewart said this was not unique offending by the defendant as he had a prior burglary conviction which had "a sexual overtone".

Counsel John Fraser said the threshold of extreme hardship had been reached as the man suffered from depression and the offending becoming public would significantly impact his ongoing treatment.

Judge Thomas Ingram said the event was not the most serious of its kind as the exposure was not obviously deliberate or intentional.

He also said the man was remorseful.

"I am satisfied that the harm that would follow would be out of all proportion to the criminality," he said.

"[His] other convictions are not of a nature that cause me any concern," he said.

Judge Ingram said people who believed the man had got away scot-free "aren't at all thoughtful about the stress that is faced by people in the defendant’s position".