Judge has 'real belief' sex offender will reoffend

By Gisborne Herald staff

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

A judge has "grave concerns and a real belief" that a Gisborne man jailed for a child sex offence, and soon to be released, will reoffend.

Judge Jonathan Down expressed his concern directly to James Stevens Kotuhi when he appeared in Gisborne District Court before setting the maximum 10 years allowable for extended supervision.

Kotuhi, 33, was sentenced to two years, nine months prison in 2010 after being found guilty by jury of indecently assaulting a 12-year-old girl.

The court heard he has two previous similar convictions, one in 2002, the other in 2006, both for indecent acts with a child.

Making the application for the maximum period of extended supervision, Crown Prosecutor Fiona Cleary said reports indicated "we are at the same place now as we were at the time of his offending".

Judge Down said while it was often procedural for the Department of Corrections to seek the maximum 10 years allowable for extended supervision, it was not always necessary.

However, Kotuhi's case demanded it.

He too had "grave concerns and a real belief" Kotuhi would reoffend.

Judge Down told Kotuhi he would not be able to apply to have the length of supervision reduced but a probation officer could recommend a review. That would only happen if Kotuhi convinced authorities his behaviour had changed.

Kotuhi was represented in court by counsel Vicky Thorpe, who did not raise any objection to the order.

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