R v Tauinaola Situli [2016] NZDC 3677

Published 01 August 2016

Unlawful sexual connection — indecent act against child or young person — Crimes Act 1961, ss 128(1)(b), 132(3), 134(3) — R v AM [2010] NZCA 114 — sentencing. The defendant appeared for sentencing having been found guilty at jury trial of 13 charges involving sexual offending against a child or young person. The offending occurred over a two year period, and involved sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection, doing indecent acts, and attempting to induce an indecent act. The Judge determined the offending to fall within band 3 of R v A M, with a starting point of 11 years’ imprisonment. There were no mitigating factors relating to the offending, but the absence of previous convictions, personal circumstances and positive character references warranted reduction by 12 months. The offending involved significant breaches of trust, as the defendant was living with one victim’s family at the time. Victim impact statements demonstrated the immense harm done by the offending. The victims were vulnerable due to their age and cultural context. As the matter had gone to jury trial, the defendant was not entitled to a reduction for guilty plea or remorse. Taking into account totality, the Judge determined 10 years’ imprisonment was appropriate, and no minimum sentence was required in light of sentencing principles. **Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements.