10 Apr 2009

Southland man jailed for attack on tourists

6:30 am on 10 April 2009

A Southland man has been jailed for 10 years for the aggravated burglary of two European tourists and the rape of one of them.

Maakiti Joseph Tipene was sentenced in Invercargill District Court on Thursday.

The court was told Tipene entered the couple's van as they slept at a campsite in Tuatapere in January this year.

He subjected the pair to what Judge Phillips described as "an horrific ordeal" which lasted almost an hour.

The court was told Tipene held a knife to the throat of the woman and also made her perform an indecent act on her partner.

Judge Kevin Phillips says Tipene has destroyed the couple's lives on what was the trip of a lifetime.

The judge took into account Tipene's early guilty plea before imposing the sentence.

However, Judge Phillips said the crime was so bad he had no option but jail Tipene for 10 years, with a minimum non-parole period of six-and-a-half years.

Judge Phillips specifically warned media attending the sentencing not to identify where the tourists are from, despite extensive media coverage earlier this year.

Associate Professor of Law at Canterbury University Ursula Cheer says it is becoming increasingly common for judges to try to shut down the spread of information that could lead to identification, even if it has already been published widely.