Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the APNZ News Service office in Wellington.

TV star's indecent assault appeal fails

The man was to report to police by January 3 to make arrangements for serving his sentence. Photo / File
The man was to report to police by January 3 to make arrangements for serving his sentence. Photo / File

A television personality's appeal against his conviction and sentence for indecently assaulting his 4-year-old daughter has been dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

The man, whose name is suppressed to protect the identity of his daughter, had pleaded guilty to one count of committing an indecent act on a child.

He was originally discharged without conviction in the Auckland District Court, but public outrage prompted a High Court review which led to a home detention sentence of eight months.

Sentencing Judge Mark Perkins said in July the revised sentence would reflect the man's "culpability and criminality".

The man had arrived home drunk from a work Christmas party and fell asleep with his partner in their bed. His daughter later got into bed with them.

He pulled down her underwear and nappy and then kissed her body several times. When his partner woke, he said he thought it was her he had kissed.

During the appeal hearing in Wellington in September, the man's lawyer, Marie Dyhrberg, told the Appeal Court his sentence was out of proportion because it would cost him his career.

But Crown prosecutor Lisa Preston said Judge Perkins did not err in assessing the man's offending as grave.

She said aggravating factors were that the little girl was his daughter and she was very young.

The appeal decision said a complicated factor in the matter was that the comedian had pleaded guilty to the charge on the basis of a sentence indication that a non-custodial sentence would be imposed.

The justices also said the man had addressed his alcohol abuse problem and faced up to the enormity of his actions.

"He is a talented person who committed what was undoubtedly a one-off, out of character offence.

"On the other hand, intoxication is not an available explanation for this offending and, on any view the offending was serious and requires both denunciation and accountability."

They said if the comedian had not been sentenced to home detention he would have been given a short jail term.

"We do not see any of the community-based options as being sufficient to reflect the need for denunciation and accountability."

The man was to report to police by January 3 to make arrangements for serving his sentence.

- APNZ

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