A former hospital contractor who admitted indecently assaulting a young female patient is fighting to keep his name secret and avoid a conviction.
In the Auckland District Court on Monday the man was convicted of indecent assault and given a first-strike warning after he grabbed a teenage girl's bottom at Auckland Hospital on April 28.
Judge Heemi Taumaunu denied the man's application for permanent name suppression but granted continued interim name suppression until 4pm Wednesday to enable the offender to decide whether to appeal.
Barrister, Adam Holland, yesterday told the Herald that his client will appeal the conviction and the court's decision to allow him to be named.
The man is a recent immigrant on a temporary residents' visa.
Holland told the court his client was likely to be deported if convicted, which would affect others and be greatly disproportionate to the gravity of the offence.
At the time of the assault, the victim's mother was on crutches and the girl was carrying a tray with coffee.
According to the agreed summary of facts, his hand briefly came into contact with the back of the girl's shorts when the three were in a lift but she was unsure whether it was accidental.
The offender then entered another with them and as the teenager exited, his hand made "firm contact with her bottom [and] she cried out in distress".
Holland said his client was unused to working where women were regularly present and had lost his low-level administration job as a result of the assault.
He was embarrassed, bereft and remorseful because of his behaviour and the profound impact it had on the complainant and had done his best to make amends.
The maximum penalty for indecent assault on a female aged over 16 is seven years' jail.
The court heard that the man had claimed to police that the first touch was accidental and denied touching her a second time. He initially pleaded not guilty but changed his plea to guilty at a case review hearing in August.
Judge Taumaunu said the assault, though on the outside of the clothing, was at the higher end of the scale of seriousness because the girl was vulnerable and unguarded and the offender was working in a position of trust.
She had experienced "significant distress" as a result.
The judge gave credit to the offender for undergoing sexual behaviour counselling at his own initiative and cost, doing 40 hours' volunteer work for the Salvation Army while on remand and his willingness to apologise to his victim in person had she agreed to a restorative justice meeting, and for making an offer in court to pay her emotional harm reparation.
His decision to deny the application for discharge without conviction was marginal, the judge said. He accepted that a conviction made the offender liable for deportation, but that fell short of the extreme consequence test required.
The deportation process could be challenged, the judge noted.
In declining the application for permanent name suppression of the offender, the judge said he was not persuaded that the high threshold required to supersede the public interest in open justice was met.
The offender was convicted and ordered to pay reparation of $2500.
Auckland DHB Chief Executive Ailsa Claire said the board took the safety and well-being of patients, visitors and staff seriously.
"If we suspect criminal behaviour has taken place on our premises, police are involved and all steps taken to assist them and ensure a safe environment, while providing support for any victims."