New Zealand Police v SA [2020] NZYC 437

Published 15 April 2021

Application for discharge — burglary — sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection — making an intimate visual recording — Crimes Act 1961, s 216H — Oranga Tamariki Act 1989, ss 4A, 5, 208, 282, 283, 283A, 284, 289 & 322 — R v AM [2010] NZCA 114, [2010] 2 NZLR 750 — MW v Police [2017] NZHC 3084 — R v ND [2018] NZYC 602 — R v SQ [2019] NZYC 627. The young person faced one charge each of burglary (carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment), sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection (carrying a maximum penalty of 20 years' imprisonment) and making an intimate visual recording (carrying a maximum penalty of 3 years' imprisonment). A discharge either pursuant to s 282 or s 283 of the Oranga Tamariki Act was to be decided. The young person had been hanging out with friends and drinking alcohol at the victim's house, who was the younger sibling of one of the young person's friends. The group of friends left the house but the young person doubled back and broke into the house, entering the victim's bedroom and offending against her. The young person did not deny the charges. The young person had gone through the family group conference process and counselling sessions. He acknowledged the seriousness of his offending and was remorseful. The victim impact statement showed that the victim, who was aged under 10 at the time of offending, suffered from PTSD as a result of the offending, had difficulty sleeping and would always lock her bedroom door at night. Given the young person's responsiveness to counselling and his efforts in further education, a discharge was sought. The Crown submitted that a discharge under s 283 (which still notes the offending on the Ministry of Justice record) was appropriate as a s 282 discharge (which treats the charges as having never been laid) did not acknowledge the seriousness of the offending. The Judge considered similar cases and determined that a s 283 discharge was appropriate in the circumstances, but noted it was a finely-balanced case. The Judge noted that, as this was an oral decision, the necessary adjustments would be made to the written decision. The Judge further commended the young person for his efforts made during the Youth Court process. Judgment Date: 25 August 2020. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *