Convicted paedophile Kingsford Corkill, 76, was yesterday found guilty of sexually abusing his cellmate.

It was the word of paedophile against rapist, inmate against inmate and Christian against Christian at the defended hearing in New Plymouth District Court.

Corkill faced three counts of indecent assault against his cellmate, himself a convicted fraudster, rapist and violent offender.

The charges related to three incidents at New Plymouth Prison last October shortly after Corkill received a six-year sentence for admitting 34 counts of indecent assault on boys spanning 32 years.

Sergeant Lewis Sutton said Corkill touched his cellmate three times on three separate days, fondling his penis through his clothes twice and rubbing his buttock.

The victim told Corkill to "cut it out" but was so upset after the third groping that he complained to staff.

The defendant and the victim both gave evidence that the other was lying, while both agreed they had initially had a common bond through their Christian faith.

Defence lawyer Julian Hannam attacked the victim's credibility. But testimony from a fellow prisoner and the prison's principal corrections officer, James Salter, described the 49-year-old victim as a trusted member of the prison community.

Judge Alistair Garland wasn't convinced by Corkill's denials and assertions that the victim was making everything up. "I found the complainant to be convincing and persuasive," he said.

He said Corkill's own admission that he had a sexual preference for boys was motive enough to take what he could get in prison. "In the absence of young males there is clear motive for the advances towards his cellmate." Corkill was sentenced to three months' imprisonment, to be served consecutively on his current sentence.

- NZPA