Uncle loses appeal against historic sex abuse

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Uncle loses appeal against historic sex abuse

Post by LadyKiwi » Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:14 am

Uncle loses appeal against historic sex abuse
Last updated 18:39, October 17 2017

An elderly man found guilty of historic sex abuse against his nephew has lost an appeal against his convictions and sentence.

The man, an Exclusive Brethren, maintained his innocence throughout his trial, denying his nephew ever stayed at his house, let alone that the offending happened.

His lawyers Christopher Tennet​ and Nick McKessar claimed in his appeal the man, who cannot be named, did not get a fair trial because potential witnesses had since died and relevant documents could not be recovered.

A jury found the man guilty in July on 22 charges of indecent assault and sexual violation dating back to the 1960s and he was sentenced to two years and four months in jail.

Justice French said the delay did not make the trial unfair.

It was unlikely the dead witnesses would have given evidence that would have changed the outcome, and the contents of the house and car records that were missing were speculative, French said.

Judge David Ruth explained at the trial how the passing of time could affect the memories of witnesses, and warned the jurors to proceed with caution.

Justice French also found that the exclusion of a letter from the man's dead father disputing the nephew's allegations was not a miscarriage of justice.

Its contents were unreliable, and varied from what the man's father told police when their investigation began in 2013.

The defence also argued they should have been allowed to cross-examine the nephew about allegations that he was sexually abused by a former teacher.

While the defence accepted the allegations were true, they were relevant to their client's defence because the nephew could be transferring memories of the teacher to his uncle, Tennet and McKessar said.

But Justice French said the link was too tenuous, and there was no expert evidence to suggest such transference was possible.

Justice French rejected the appeal against the convictions.

The defence also argued the sentence was excessive.

The man was given a 20 per cent discount for his age and ill health, but Tennet and McKessar said the discount should have been greater, in which case the man could have been eligible for home detention.

He had a heart condition, was hospitalised for pneumonia during the trial, and suffered three heart attacks while in prison.

But Justice French said Judge Ruth knew the man was likely to have heart attacks in prison when he sentenced him.

French accepted other judges might have given a greater discount, but Judge Ruth gave a large discount for good character which French said counterbalanced that.

"The offending involved 22 counts of serious and sustained sexual abuse of a child over a three-year period, a child entrusted to [the man's] care. We agree with the Crown that, given those circumstances, good character has a somewhat hollow ring to it."

The sentence was "arguably stern, but in range", Justice French said, and dismissed the appeal.

https://article.wn.com/view/2017/10/17/ ... sex_abuse/

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