Lack of remorse from rapist has judge concerned

By Imran Ali -

A sex offender who raped a young girl says he was the victim, but he has forgiven the girl.

In the Whangarei District Court this week, Judge John McDonald said he was troubled by Hona Peta's lack of remorse.

Peta raped a young girl, who became pregnant and had to have an abortion.

The 54-year-old was sentenced on Tuesday after earlier pleading guilty to one charge of rape.

In sentencing Peta to nine years and four months in prison, Judge McDonald said he was troubled by Peta's absolute lack of remorse.

"Instead of using your Christian beliefs to protect her from society, you became the predator. You don't feel sorry for her at all," the judge said.

"You blame her for what you did. You say you were the victim. You didn't think you should apologise to her but that she should apologise to you."

The girl and her family were present in court during Peta's sentencing.

Crown lawyer Moana Jarman-Taylor said Peta had told a probation officer that because he was a good Christian, he had forgiven the girl.

Peta's lawyer Sumudu Thode accepted a starting point of nine years in prison was appropriate given the aggravating features of his offending.

She said Peta did not apply for bail after pleading guilty to the charge, which showed his remorse.

His age and ill-health could be taken into account as mitigating factors, she submitted.

But Judge McDonald said he would not take any of those factors into consideration, except his guilty plea.

"The case against you was very strong. You would have been convicted had you taken it to trial," he said.

As a result of Peta's offending, the girl was now frightened, paranoid and detested men of any age so much that a male relative had to move out of the house she lives in, Judge McDonald said.

The Crown did not apply for a minimum non-parole term of imprisonment.

Peta briefly waved to a young man sitting in the public gallery after his sentencing before he was led away.

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