Three generations of women in a Gisborne family turned on a 12-year-old relative who claimed she had been sexually assaulted by her uncle, in a case that a judge said “made a mockery of notions of whanau”.
The case involved a mother and daughter forcing the girl to retract claims that her uncle had indecently assaulted her, after a jury had found him guilty.
The women, aged 48 and 29, and both closely related to the offender, have been jailed for three years for attempting to pervert the course of justice. They cannot be named, to protect the girl.
Three years is a decent sentence. It is in fact longer than the sentence of the original offender, whose conviction they were trying to overturn.
In mid-2013, while the offender was in custody pending sentencing, the two women made repeated visits to the girl’s home, where they would take her aside from her parents and tell her “what her responsibilities were”, the judge said.
They marched the girl to Gisborne District Court where, in front of a registrar, she signed a sworn retraction of her allegations.
Judge Adeane said the language used in the retraction was certainly not the girl’s and, when she was spoken to privately by an independent lawyer, she reaffirmed her allegations against her uncle.
Throughout this time, the women were regularly phoning the offender in prison. The judge said these calls, which were intercepted, displayed the “energy and urgency” the women were putting in to persuade the girl to retract her allegations.
The women told the man they would assault the girl after the affidavit had been signed, and would get her to sign it “even if we have to kill the little beggar”.
Another relative, concerned at the pair’s actions, contacted police.
Well done that person.
The uncle was sentenced to two years and three months’ jail in July 2013, after a jury found him guilty of indecently assaulting the girl when she was aged 10-11. He was sentenced to a further year in jail for his part in attempting to pervert the course of justice.