Matthew Theunissen

Matthew Theunissen is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Man who filmed sleeping woman jailed for eight years

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

A man who broke into an Auckland home and filmed a woman as she slept in her underwear has been sentenced to eight years' imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of five years.

The man, who has interim name suppression, was previously found guilty by a jury of four counts of burglary, one of attempted burglary, assault on a female, indecent assault and making an intimate visual recording. He also pleaded guilty to a fifth count of burglary.

He was sentenced today in the High Court at Auckland by Justice Raynor Asher, who told the court the man had already served four previous sentences of imprisonment for similar offending dating back to 1995.

Justice Asher deliberated at length about imposing a sentence of preventive detention but ultimately decided it would be out of proportion to the gravity of the offending.

The court was told that all the burglaries were at night and all but one of the properties were occupied at the time.

The first burglary occurred in the central Auckland suburb Ponsonby in September, 2011.

The man entered an apartment where a woman was asleep on a couch in her underwear.

"Using a torch or some illumination device you recorded the female victim as she slept," Justice Asher said.

"The focus of the recording was on the victim's bottom which was filmed from a relatively close position."

The man then pulled his pants down and performed an indecent act, at which point the victim noticed him and, feigning sleep, pretended to stir.

The man then pulled up his pants and fled through a door, taking a handbag and wallet with him.

"The victim must have felt absolute terror at becoming aware of your actions. The invasion of her privacy is of a most serious nature as she was sleeping on her couch at home," Justice Asher said.

On another occasion, the man broke into a property in Mt Albert and took a set of keys and two digital cameras.

While he was inside, two women arrived home and one of them encountered the intruder in the living area.

She asked who he was, to which he responded "I'm here for the girl" . He then he leaned over and placed his hand on her bottom.

The other woman came across the man near the stairway and, when she asked who he was, he slapped her across the side of the head.

The court was told that he stole more than $15,000 worth of property during the burglaries, much of it personal items.

Justice Asher said a striking element of the burglaries was the element of flagrancy with which they were carried out.

"You do not ... seem to be easily deterred and on one occasion when the occupants were disturbed you did not flee and rather stayed on for a period," he said.

"The victims of the burglaries have referred to the distress at being burgled, how scared they have been at the thought of having someone in their house, and their distress at losing invaluable personal photo footage and other lost items.

"The victims of the indecent assault and the male assaults female counts have set out the emotional distress that they have suffered as a consequence of the attacks There can be no doubt that the experience will live with them forever and that their felling of trust and security within their community has been seriously diminished."

- APNZ

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