Nigel Patrick Poa's failure to tackle his demons and his prolific sex offending over decades has earned him a sentence of preventive detention.
The serial sex offender lived near several West Auckland schools but managed to avoid reoffending until his "triggers" were activated.
That's what the High Court at Auckland heard today when Poa, in his mid-50s, was sentenced for sexually violating a young girl.
Preventive detention means Poa will be subject to prison recall any time for the rest of his life.
The court heard Poa forced a girl to perform sexual acts on him.
"This is a particularly young and vulnerable victim," Crown prosecutor Alysha McClintock told the court.
Poa had 46 previous convictions, including 13 for sexual offending.
These included convictions for sex offences in 1992, indecent assault in 1999, and sexual violation of two children by unlawful sexual connection in 2011.
McClintock said the more recent offences against the young girl suggested an escalation in Poa's offending.
"The experts are aligned that Mr Poa is at very high risk of sexual reoffending unless he can be successfully treated," McClintock added.
She said preventive detention would protect the community and ensure the onus was on Poa to get the treatment he needed.
"This is not a case where the Crown submits all hope is lost."
But McClintock said Poa had a habit of downplaying his offending.
Defence counsel Kelly-Ann Stoikoff said Poa's sister and wife still supported him.
"Although it's clear to Mr Poa that nobody's pleased, these women remain supportive of him," Stoikoff said.
"He's lived a full and responsible life. He has always provided for his whānau. He is loved."
She said Poa immediately admitted guilt after last year's offending.
"As to the denial and downplaying of the offending, there is of course always an element of shame, an element of embarrassment," she added.
"He felt this deeply, which perhaps prevented a full admission in front of others."
Stoikoff said Poa had for about three years avoided offending and adhered to a safety plan established after a previous release from jail.
This was despite him being within a few kilometres of several West Auckland schools, Stoikoff added.
She said a finite sentence would be enough to mitigate dangers.
Justice Gerard van Bohemen said a mental health expert identified relationship issues, alcohol abuse and unemployment as possible "triggers" for Poa's offending.
"He is of particular risk to girls under 12," the judge added.
The young girl in last year's offending was encouraged to perform sexual acts on Poa three times, the court heard.
"Those are terrible acts to ask of an innocent and trusting young child."
Justice van Bohemen said Poa claimed to have been extremely drunk at the time. Another person who witnessed the molestation raised the alarm.
When the offending was reported, Poa quickly admitted wrongdoing.
"You also said that whatever the children said happened, had happened," Justice van Bohemen told the sex offender.
The judge said Poa hadn't done enough to rehabilitate himself or accept the risk he posed.
Instead, Poa had repeatedly blamed other people or alcohol, Justice van Bohemen said.
The court heard this was despite Poa getting treatment since 2011 for sex offending and in 2015 for alcohol abuse.
Justice van Bohemen said preventive detention was the only way to give Poa an incentive to change.
Preventive detention was only imposed six times on people in New Zealand in the year to June 2020, according to Figure.nz.
For three sexual violation charges and three of unlawful sexual connection with a child under 12 years old, Justice van Bohemen sentenced Poa to eight years and three months' jail.
Poa must serve a minimum of five-and-a-half years in prison.