The family of a child sex victim were already angry they had to wait more than eight months for the offender to be sentenced.

But now they are outraged after the judge decided the night before sentencing to adjourn the case for another month.

The offender, a man in his 70s, was found guilty in early October of two representative charges of sexual conduct with a child under 12.

Judge Anna Johns bailed the man to live at home until sentencing, which would not go ahead until after a second trial involving him.


The man has name suppression. At his second trial he was found not guilty on all charges.

Sentencing was scheduled for 9.15am yesterday and the family had arranged to travel from their rural home to attend. However, at 5.13pm on Tuesday the court advised the Crown prosecutor that the hearing had been adjourned until early August.

The girl's grandfather said the news was devastating.

"We were told that the judge needs more time to get information on [the offender's] current address for its suitability for home detention," he said. "We were just so angry and so mentally drained. Everything was in place, we were ready. We had waited so long for this. We've just about had it."

The family could not understand why the judge had pulled the pin on sentencing so late in the piece.

"She's had eight months to get the information."

He said family members regularly saw the offender around their small town and it caused them all "a hell of a lot of mental anguish".

"We are just continually victimised. If they are going to give him home detention, then just do it. We want to get this over with."

Criminal law and justice expert Professor Warren Brookbanks from Auckland University of Technology said there was no statutory requirement as to when a sentencing must take place. But eight months was deemed "long".

"[It] seems a long time. Normally, one would expect a sentencing to occur within weeks rather than months, for reasons of fairness and transparency of justice," he said. "However, in the circumstances, I can see the sense in the judge wanting to deal with both sentencing matters together."

He said all judges had to be mindful of the statutory obligations in respect of victims arising from both the Victims' Rights Act 2002 and the Sentencing Act 2003.

"However, issues of adjournment and delay ... can cause distress but are sometimes an unavoidable feature of a system that is complex and operating under extreme pressure. Unfortunately we do not live in an ideal world."