A man who lost his five-week-old daughter and partner in the Christchurch earthquake has been sentenced for indecent assault and a charge under the new cyberbullying law.
Glenn William Prattley, 32, last week appeared in the Ashburton District Court on two charges of indecent assault on a child under 16, and one of sending indecent material via a text message to a child under 16.
The second charge was subject to the Harmful Digital Communications Act.
Prattley's daughter Taneysha Gail Rose Prattley was fatally crushed with her mother, Kelsey Moore - Mr Prattley's partner - when building debris fell on them on Manchester Street in central Christchurch on February 22, 2011.
At the time it was reported he had pushed his sister out clear of the falling debris, saving her life, and later regained consciousness in hospital.
Last week, Prattley was sentenced to intensive supervision.
Judge David Saunders said Prattley's offending was very much at the lower end of the scale in terms of indecency offending, but the conviction automatically activated a first strike warning under the system which imposes heavier penalties on repeat violent offenders.
"Sometimes people have difficulty understanding why touching of an unwelcome nature would count as violence, but that is not my decision to make," Judge Saunders said.
You have to be motivated to do better in the future.
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Mental health reports had provided an insight into Prattley's offending and assisted in coming to a sentencing decision.
"I accept you have struggled with physical problems and mental health issues that came about because of the Canterbury earthquakes," Judge Saunders said.
"There is help available to you - which is why I am extending to you a rehabilitative sentence, to help you overcome these very real difficulties."
However, Judge Saunders said Prattley carried the responsibility for taking advantage of the help offered.
"You have to be motivated to do better in the future," he said.
While subject to sentence, Prattley will also be under judicial monitoring to keep the court informed of his progress.
A year after the earthquake, Prattley told the Herald he carried his daughter's ashes around with him in a small cardboard box.
"They come everywhere with me. When I go to work, she usually stays in the car.
"She comes inside at night-time. It's just so that it feels as though she's still a part of me, she's still here with me."
He added: "Quite often, just out of the blue, I end up with tears in my eyes, thinking about it all. I still have the thoughts going through my head, 'How come I could help my sister, but there was no way I could help my partner and daughter?' That same thought keeps going over and over in my head."
His case follows that of John Howland whose 14-year-old son, Jayden Andrews-Howland, was killed by falling masonry in the February 22, 2011 earthquake.
In 2013, Howland was sentenced to eight months' home detention after being caught with thousands of images of child pornography on his computer.
Depression triggered by his teenage son's death - just a day before his 15th birthday - was behind his descent into the world of child pornography, Greymouth District Court heard.
Earlier this year, Howland was convicted of throwing muck over Minister Gerry Brownlee at the five-year memorial service for victims of the quake.
- Ashburton Guardian, NZ Herald staff
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