Prominent Hawke's Bay businessman Rodney Green has been sentenced to community work and ordered to pay damages for indecently assaulting an employee after partying at a charity boxing event.
Green was sentenced by Judge David Smith at Napier District Court yesterday to 175 hours' community work and ordered to pay $3000 to his victim, after he was found guilty of two counts of indecent assault.
A jury found the 65-year-old guilty in March on charges relating to touching a woman's breast and attempting to kiss her.
The victim was in a Hummer limousine heading to the Bluewater Hotel in Napier, which Green owns, following a boozy party at a charity boxing event in January 2012 at Taradale's Pettigrew-Green Arena, a venue sponsored by, and named after, Green.
Green and his victim were in a vehicle with a group singing along to music by Abba.
One of the charges he had faced related to his face falling into the lap of a woman while she was sitting in the vehicle. During the trial, Green said the matter had been treated as a joke by all present at the time and the jury found him not guilty on that count.
Crown prosecutor Clayton Walker said yesterday Green's "sexual innuendo and banter" was not only indecent but "disgusting" and "painful", as described in the victim's impact statement.
Judge David Smith said at Napier District Court yesterday, the victim, in her 30s, was now receiving counselling as a result of the incident.
"She was left belittled, broken and she felt her dignity and her soul were robbed from her that night. It was her career, she needed and wanted that job and her confidence has been shattered, her dreams and aspirations robbed," Judge Smith said.
He added the victim was forced to "endure the pressure" of being a witness in the trial.
Quoting the victim impact statement, he said: "What a coward of a man you are for not taking responsibility for your actions."
He said Green had breached the woman's trust, who was his employee at the time, and had made her work place environment "unsafe".
Green's lawyer Paul Mabey QC said the mitigating factors were Green had no previous offences and had been a significant contributor to the community.
Judge Smith said although they were mitigating factors they were only "to a limited extent".
Mr Mabey said he did not want his client to be "accused of chequebook justice", although he did not oppose reparation costs if sentenced by Judge Smith.
"I'm not going to get into a situation where I'm representing a rich man and he's trying to buy his way out," Mr Mabey said.
Judge Smith said: "The difficulty for you [Green] is you continue to deny your guilt and show no remorse.
"Confining you to your home will likely be little imposition to yourself."
He added a "responsibility" was bestowed upon him to impose harm and reparation costs, given the victim was undergoing counselling.
The victim declined to comment, and her case manager said the victim's impact statement spoke on her behalf.
Green also refused to comment when approached by Hawke's Bay Today.
As well as sponsoring the Pettigrew-Green Arena, Green has also supported McLean Park's Rodney Green Centennial Event Centre.
His previous business interests have included Napier Discount Meats and the Medallion bacon and small-goods companies.
He opened the Bluewater Hotel in 1999.