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Comedian’s child sex conviction welcomed

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demand

A call for action to
stop sexual violence against
women and children.


Media Release 27 July 2012


Comedian’s child sex conviction welcomed

Today’s conviction of a well-known comedian for sexual assault on his young daughter was welcomed by Stop Demand, a group tackling sexual violence. The man was sentenced to eight months home detention.

The sentence followed a High Court judicial review of an earlier sentence last September that saw the man discharged without conviction.

Stop Demand’s founder, Denise Ritchie, attended today’s sentence. She says, “The message from the Court today was very clear: all sexual crimes against children are to be treated seriously, convictions entered, and sentences imposed must both denounce and deter.”

Last year’s controversial “non-sentence” raised widespread public concern regarding the trivialisation of child sex abuse. In her decision Judge Philippa Cunningham was reported as saying "He's a talented New Zealander. He makes people laugh. Laughter is an incredible medicine and we all need lots of it". Judge Cunningham ruled that a conviction against the Auckland man would outweigh the offending. On review in April, the High Court disagreed. Today, Judge Mark Perkins similarly found that a conviction did not outweigh the offending.

In March 2011 the man pleaded guilty to performing an indecent act on his then 4-year old daughter after returning home drunk from a Christmas work party. It was reported that the man laid his daughter on her back after she climbed into bed with her parents, pulled down her pyjama pants and nappy and performed the indecent act, waking his partner.

Denise Ritchie says, “The extent of incest and familial child sex abuse in this country is a national disgrace. Our mental health system and our prisons are full of adults who have been damaged as a result of childhood sexual abuse. These are crimes that need to be unequivocally denounced by our Courts. Being drunk is no excuse.”

The man has permanent name suppression to protect the identity of his daughter.


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