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

Deported criminal reoffends just six-months back in New Zealand

Wolston Correctional Centre in Brisbane where Andrew Molo broke another inmate's jaw over "missing milk".
Wolston Correctional Centre in Brisbane where Andrew Molo broke another inmate's jaw over "missing milk".

A man who served 15 years in an Australian prison for beating his pregnant girlfriend to death took just six months to reoffend after being deported to New Zealand.

Andrew Molo, 39, committed sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection shortly after returning to Auckland and has now been jailed for two years nine months.

However, Judge Russell Collins at Auckland District Court on Friday refused to increase that sentence for his violent history or impose a minimum period of imprisonment.

That means Molo, who has been behind bars since the sex attack in November, may be out within months if granted parole.

But the judge considered early release unlikely.

"I anticipate, Mr Molo, that you will have significant objections to overcome before the Parole Board will give you parole and you'll have to work extremely hard to earn it," he said.

On November 19, 1998, Queensland-based Molo was on parole after committing a spate of vicious attacks when he severely beat his pregnant partner 18-year-old Tanya Cathy Watts.

AAP reported that she was placed on life support at Royal Brisbane Hospital but died the following day from brain injuries.

A post mortem examination revealed bruising all over her body - arms legs, chest, head, scalp, eyes - and even on her tongue.

Ms Watts was four months pregnant.

"The medical evidence was that the injuries Tanya Watts sustained were similar to those of victims in motor vehicle or motorcycle accidents," Justice Ken Mackenzie said.

"The savagery of that attack is totally unacceptable."

According to AAP, Molo had moved to Australia from New Zealand as a 14-year-old.

After a jury found him guilty of murder he was jailed for life with a minimum of 15 years and it was revealed he had attacked another woman just a month before the brutal killing.

Molo threw her against a wall and punched her three times in the face, breaking her jaw in two places.

And he was far from the model prisoner while locked up.

In 2007, the Sydney Morning Herald reported Molo had got into a fight with another inmate over "missing milk" at Brisbane's Wolston Correctional Centre.

The pair were split up but as they walked away the defendant hit the other man in the jaw, fracturing it.

After serving his time, it is understood Molo was deported home to Mt Roskill.

But within months he attacked a woman, pulling off her pants and violating her, Judge Collins said.

The incident lasted less than a minute and "the arrival of the police brought any continuation to an end".

An assessment by probation saw Molo deemed a high risk of reoffending and harm to others; and noted he lacked remorse and attempted to justify his behaviour.

Defence counsel Louise Freyer said her client took issue with that evaluation.

"He accepts what he did was absolutely wrong, he has apologised over and over again and accepts such behaviour is simply not acceptable," she said.

"He'd like to put his past behind him. He thought he put it behind him when he came back from Australia and obviously had a relapse with this single incident of offending."

Crown prosecutor Nick Webby argued for an addition to Molo's jail term for his history but Judge Collins said there was not a sufficient similarity between his recent offending and that from overseas.

If he had increased the sentence, the 39-year-old would effectively be punished twice for the same offence, he said.

A spokesman for Australia's Department of Immigration and Border Protection said it would not discuss specifics of Molo's case.

The country has taken a hardline stance - since December 2014 - in which Kiwis on even minor convictions or those who fail a good character test are detained and deported.

The spokesman said amendments to character provisions stated that non-Australian citizens who serve a "full-time term of imprisonment" in the country and had previously served a sentence of 12 months or more had their visas cancelled once they had served their time.

Since the changes, 312 New Zealanders had been removed from Australia.

- NZ Herald

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