A former Dunedin social worker jailed for 13 years for historic sexual abuse against eight girls in his care has failed in an appeal bid.

Edward Anand was found guilty of five charges of rape and seven of indecent assault following a jury trial at the Dunedin District Court in March last year.

The offending occurred at the former Girls' Home in Elliot St in Dunedin between 1980 and 1986.

At sentencing, Judge Kevin Phillips said the girls were entrusted to the state-run home for a variety of reasons, and they were supposed to be safe and protected.


Instead, the home was a "dangerous and soul-destroying" place where Anand procured sexual gratification.

Anand had "stolen" the girls' childhood, giving them cigarettes and alcohol as part of the "grooming" process.

"You had these girls at your mercy."

Girls who complained about his behaviour at the time were not believed, the judge said.

Before the Court of Appeal last month, Anand argued it was "a combination of circumstances" that led to an unfair trial.

The appellant questioned the choice of witnesses called by his lawyer, record-keeping and the ethnic make-up of the jury.

All 12 jurors were of European descent, he said.

"There is no reason to believe the jury may have been prejudiced against Mr Anand by some form of racial bias," the appeal court judges said in a decision released today.


They were similarly unmoved by submissions made regarding the length of the jail term.

"It involved a significant element of grooming because he understood the complainants' backgrounds and used that knowledge to gain their trust," the court said.

"Some of the offending also involved Mr Anand providing the complainants with gifts, such as cigarettes, before offending against them. The offending has also resulted in what the Judge described as incalculable harm to the victims."