Man avoids jail for rape

A 66-year-old man has escaped being sent to jail for rape and was instead sentenced to 12 months' home detention for crimes that occurred in the early 1970s.

Monty Smith had previously pleaded guilty to a representative charge of rape before appearing for sentencing in the Napier District Court yesterday.

Judge Tony Adeane said the offender had abused the trust of his then teenaged victim, who subsequently fell pregnant with his child.

The child contacted Monty Smith later in life looking for acknowledgment of the crimes committed. Smith claimed this was the first he knew of the child being his.

His lawyer, Roger Philip, said the victim could rest easy knowing the allegations she had made over the years were in fact true.

"She wasn't looking for penalty, she was looking for accountability, and that's what she's now got."

Mr Philip also said the offender's age, ill health and willingness to make an emotional harm reparation payment of $5000 should count in his favour when sentencing.

The payment was accumulated by Smith's family members.

Judge Adeane said a prison sentence would serve little social purpose other than punishment as Smith no longer posed a risk. He said the offending was a "dark part of his life" that had come back to visit him.

He took note of how responses towards this type of offending had changed over the years and said community attitudes were not as "sharply focused" as they are now. He said the maximum penalty for rape had increased from 14 years in the early 1970s to 20 years today. Smith's sentence reflected the law around the time of his offending.

He was arrested in Tauranga in October of 2010 when visiting New Zealand for business.

Five weeks later he was allowed to return to his home on the Gold Coast to await a hearing.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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