The 10-year-old girl choosing a birthday present in the Warehouse toy aisle did not know the grey haired man behind her was a sex offender about to earn his third strike in five years.
Innocently she told him it was her birthday and she was picking presents with her mum who was in another aisle.
Next, Grahame John Rutherford, 63, put his arm around her and grabbed her bottom.
Three indecent assaults on kids in five years. Plus two more from earlier on.
The latest offending made him one of the few eligible under the Sentencing Act to be given the maximum sentence under the third strike provisions which would mean he would serve it without the possibility of parole.
He had pleaded guilty to one charge of doing an indecent act on a child.
Justice Francis Cooke in the High Court at Wellington on Friday jailed him for the maximum term available of 10 years but said the imposition of a non-parole provision would be manifestly unjust.
He said the sentence Rutherford would have received without the three strikes legislation would have been about 14 months jail, which might have given him a chance at home detention.
“The three strikes regime has not prevented him from reoffending,” he said.
Yay. He got ten years jail rather than home detention.
The Judge shows he hates the three strikes law by claiming it had not prevented him from reoffending. The reality is that his first two strikes did not get a jail sentence. He got three months community detention for strike 1 and eight months home detention for strike 2. It is community detention and home detention that failed to stop him reoffending. The three strikes law is doing what it should – jailing him for a long time once it is clear he won’t stop.
The Judge admits that without three strikes he would have let him out on home detention again – no doubt resulting in another child being sexually assaulted by him in a shop or playground.