A Northland man who sexually abused his two granddaughters for more than six years was somebody people looked up to, but a judge has described him as a paedophile predator who has caused lifelong harm to the girls.
The man, who has name suppression to protect the identity of his victims, was jailed for six years and seven months in the Whangārei District Court today after earlier pleading guilty to four charges of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection and one charge of sexual offending against a young person. All the charges were representative, meaning the conducts happened on a number of occasions.
Sentencing, Judge John McDonald said the two girls were abused from the ages of five or six to when they were 12 or 13, and the abuse would have a lifelong impact on them.
In an emotional victim impact statement from one of the man's granddaughters and her grandmother - his wife - read by the wife, she described the ongoing pain her husband's actions have had on the whole family, but particularly the two girls.
She said the whole family looked up to the man and relied on him to protect them from harm.
Instead, he was a demon who lurked in the shadows at night and the shade during the day, taking every opportunity he could to abuse the girls.
The woman said she wrote her victim impact statement not long after the charges were laid and she was writing from a place of hurt and betrayal.
''But I'm not in that place anymore.''
She said the family would heal and move on and they wanted the man to take every opportunity to get rid of the demon inside him. She said they would support him to make sure no other family had to go through the pain they suffered.
Judge McDonald said the offending was only discovered when one of the girls told family members about it.
The judge criticised part of a cultural report where the report writer said child sexual abuse was prolific in the Pacific island he was born in.
But Judge McDonald rejected that this meant people from the island became sexual abusers of young children simply because they came from the island.
Besides, he said, the man had come to New Zealand when he was five and knew what he was doing was wrong.
''You knew what was right and what was wrong and you knew that what you were doing was wrong. You were just waiting to be caught so that it could stop,' Judge McDonald said.
In a psychiatric report the man said he was possessed, and he later said he was glad he was caught as it meant he could deal with his demons.
Judge McDonald set a starting point of nine and a half years in jail for the offending, but with discounts for his guilty plea - which prevented the victims being retraumatised by having to relive the abuse in court evidence - his genuine remorse, and issues from his background the end sentence was six years and seven months.
The judge also issued the man with his first strike warning under the Three Strikes legislation.