A $3000 emotional harm reparation payment to a teenage girl a man had sex with was not "buying off" the victim, a Whangarei judge said as he sentenced the man to home detention.
Marco Gerard de Beer, 23, appeared for sentencing in Whangarei District Court after pleading guilty to a charge of sexual connection with a young person aged 12-16. Police withdrew a charge of rape against De Beer and Judge John McDonald sentenced him to seven months home detention after De Beer paid the girl $3000 in emotional harm reparation.
Judge McDonald said home detention was not an easy sentence and was appropriate in De Beer's case.
He said De Beer's offending had a marked impact on the girl's life and it was a valid sentencing principle that the offender pays something to the person offended against in emotional harm reparation. De Beer paid the girl $3000.
The police summary of facts said De Beer had sexual intercourse with the girl who was then aged 14 in 2012.
He initially denied having sexual connection with her, but later admitted the charge.
"Her acceptance of your emotional harm payment cannot in any way be seen as her being bought off ... it's never about buying off," Judge McDonald said.
Judge McDonald said a starting point for sentencing De Beer was two years and seven months' jail on the sexual connection charge.
The judge then gave him discounts for mitigating factors, including 25 per cent for his early guilty plea, a further 5 per cent for his good character and a "final discount for the reparation that has been paid and accepted by the complainant".
That brought the end sentence to less than two years' jail, meaning the judge could convert the sentence to home detention.
Judge McDonald said the girl did not want to take part in restorative justice with De Beer and a pre-sentence report showed that De Beer was a low risk of reoffending and medium risk of harm.
He said home detention was not an easy sentence with the person on the sentence having to keep in regular contact with Probation Services.
Any breach would be treated seriously and could lead to the person being resentenced on the original charge.
"I'm sure you or your family don't want that," Judge McDonald said.
For more articles from this region, go to NORTHERN ADVOCATE