Rob Kidd is a NZME. News Service court reporter based in Auckland.

Upskirt mirror: Social worker's appeal rejected

Abraham Rangi Turoa has acknowledged his behaviour was "wrong, creepy and sick". Photo / Facebook
Abraham Rangi Turoa has acknowledged his behaviour was "wrong, creepy and sick". Photo / Facebook

A social worker who spent two hours using a mirror to look up a teenager's skirt in an Auckland library has failed to have his conviction quashed.

Abraham Rangi Turoa, 55, was sentenced to 15 months intensive supervision last year after admitting a charge of doing an indecent act in public.

But he came before the High Court at Auckland last week in a bid to have the conviction and sentence set aside.

The former community support worker at the Waipareira Trust walked into Henderson Library in August 2014 and sat opposite a teenage girl.

He positioned a small mirror between his legs and aimed it at her "genital area" while he pretended to read a book.

"The defendant positioned his body so that he appeared to be reading a book on top of the table. The defendant was actually looking at the mirror underneath the table," court documents stated.

Initially the then 54-year-old told officers there was a magnifying glass on the other side of the mirror which he was using to assist with reading.

In interviews with probation, Turoa acknowledged his behaviour was "wrong, creepy and sick" and said he did it because of stresses in his family life.

His lawyer Peter Eastwood said that the offending did not reach the threshold to make it an indecent act and that it should have been classed as offensive behaviour.

He also argued Turoa's former counsel "capitulated" when a judge told them there was no defence to the charge.

Justice John Faire said there was no miscarriage of justice and dismissed the appeal.

A spokesman from the Waipareira Trust at the time said Turoa had resigned from his position after being charged but the court heard how the defendant hoped to find work again after undergoing counselling.

The defendant was convicted of a similar offence in 1982, which involved alcohol and a friend's girlfriend.

- NZME.

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