Kirsty Wynn

Kirsty Wynn is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

Hens' party bartender guilty of sex charge

Harland Munton. Photo / Sourced from open Facebook page
Harland Munton. Photo / Sourced from open Facebook page

A bartender at a hens' party has been found guilty of unlawful sexual connection with a guest. Harland Munton, 26, was acquitted of rape but found guilty of another sex act which the jury found the woman did not consent to.

Judge Gerard Winter sentenced Munton to 10 months' home detention. He said Munton, and others, "needed to be deterred from non-consensual intimate actions during the act of sexual intercourse".

On the evening of December 10, 2010, the victim was at a private hens' party at an Auckland mansion.

The intoxicated woman had gone to sleep in an upstairs room.

Munton continued to serve drinks to the other women and then he started drinking.

He went upstairs and found the woman lying on her stomach and had sexual intercourse with her.

He then performed an additional act which the woman objected to, hitting his hand away.

Judge Winter said the jury found the sex was consensual but they found the intimate touching was not.

"The aggravating features are clearly the vulnerability of the female.

"She was feeling sick, she went to sleep in a bedroom away from the others. You took advantage of that situation and while her sexual intercourse with you may have been consensual, the intimate touching you did was not."

In sentencing Munton, Judge Winter said he had to keep in mind the extent of harm to the woman.

"It is difficult for her to separate the act of sex from the intimate sexual act.

"She has profound regrets of the evening, enormous embarrassment and is struggling not only emotionally but in her relationship with her partner and with her employment."

President of the Law Society Jonathan Temm said the verdict upheld the generally held view of consent.

"The jury decided this kind of conduct was not something a woman would consent to, while intoxicated and having never met the person before.

"Even if someone has given consent, they can withdraw that consent at any time. When the consent is withdrawn, any conduct that follows is culpable conduct."

- Herald on Sunday

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