11 Jul 2014

Incest father jailed for three years

9:54 pm on 11 July 2014

A judge has told a man jailed for incest that his offending struck at the heart of society's moral boundaries.

The 60-year-old, whose name is suppressed to protect the identity of his victim, was sentenced at the High Court in Wellington on three charges of incest after he earlier pleaded guilty.

The man and his wife adopted the girl in 2007, when she was 15. He began sexually abusing her about three years later, culminating in a pregnancy.

The young woman was charged with murdering the baby after its body was found in a neighbour's garden in August 2012. The charge was later reduced to infanticide, but that prosecution was brought to an end earlier this year.

Justice Kos on Friday said the man's offending struck at the heart of society's moral boundaries, and that the impact of his offending would be with his daughter for a long time.

The young woman had given birth in a garage and was deprived of medical attention, which led to her spending time in hospital.

"She had an operation to deal with complications relating to the birth," Justice Kos said.

"The pregnancy, through incest and the death of her first child, has deeply distressed your daughter. She became depressed and suicidal and was admitted to a psychiatric unit."

The woman, who had an intellectual disability, was entitled to feel safe in her own home. She remained frightened of the man and that distrust had extended to other men, Justice Kos said.

"She is unwilling to stay home, even with trusted male relatives. She was traumatised by your acts, by the unexpected birth which resulted from those acts, and from the death of her and your daughter."

Justice Kos said he had read letters from the man's family and friends, but none of them expressed any concern for the victim of the offending. He said he feared that the woman - the most important person involved in the case - was being forgotten.

The remorse the man had expressed was to his family and his church, not to the woman he had offended against, the judge said.

Outside court, Detective Ryan Chinnock said the sentence is a just one and will be a strong deterrent to any people considering offending in the same way. He said the woman at the centre of the case has made some progress over the past two years.