Belinda Feek is a NZ Herald reporter

Repeat sexual predator's sentence reduced on appeal

Hamilton man and recidivist groper David Benjamin Carline has successfully appealed his preventive detention sentence for indecent assault. Photo / File
Hamilton man and recidivist groper David Benjamin Carline has successfully appealed his preventive detention sentence for indecent assault. Photo / File

A repeat sexual offender who continues to run up behind women and put his hand up their skirts, or stalk them, has had his preventive detention sentence quashed on appeal.

David Benjamin Carline, 40, of Hamilton, has been sexually offending against women since 1992.

In the latest attack, in April last year, Carline ran up behind a 61-year-old woman as she walked to work in Hamilton. He then pushed his hand under her skirt in between her legs and touched her genital area on the outside of her tights.

The woman screamed and fell to the footpath.

The offence was similar to six other indecent assaults he has been convicted of.

In January 2004, he ran up behind a woman at a children's' playground and slapped her bottom; later that month he jumped out of his parked vehicle and ran up behind a woman and thrust his hand up her skirt in between her legs.

He did the same thing to the same woman 10 days later. He slapped more women's bottoms in 2009, before again putting his hand up a woman's skirt in 2010. He then sexually harassed a woman for three months, shouting at her "great tits", "I want to marry you" and "hey hot stuff do you want a ride?".

In sentencing Carline on the latest offence this year, Justice Edwin Wylie imposed a sentence of preventive detention with him to serve a minimum period of five years' prison.

The judge found that Carline had not "meaningfully engaged" in any of the treatment programmes offered to him in the past and considered that he had resisted addressing the causes of the offending.

"It is plain from your history that there is little or no prospect of rehabilitation. Protection of the community becomes the primary consideration in sentencing you."

However, the Court of Appeal found that Justice Wylie focussed too much on the community's protection instead of Carline's possible rehabilitation, despite accepting that there was a risk he would reoffend upon release after completing a sexual rehabilitation programme in prison.

The court said Carline had a poor childhood, and his father also committed sexual offences against women.

After turning to drink and drugs, Carline turned to Christianity in his teens and still remained a "committed Christian who is actively involved in his church".

"Without minimising the effect of Carline's offending on his victims, we are not satisfied that the seriousness of his offending justifies the sentence of preventive detention."

None of Carline's previous sentences had lasted for 12 months or longer and he was now reportedly keen to engage in sexual rehabilitation programmes.

The Court of Appeal quashed Carline's sentence and replaced it with a finite sentence of two years and seven months' prison.

Because of the nature of his offending and risk of reoffending it ordered that a minimum term of two-thirds - or 20 months - be imposed.

The court said an extended supervision order was available if Corrections had concerns about his behaviour before his release.

- NZ Herald

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