Court may consider preventive detention for sex offender

February 27, 2015 | By More


File image. © Andrew Bardwell

File image. © Andrew Bardwell

The High Court has ordered reports to consider an open-ended preventive detention sentence for a 55-year-old man found guilty of 23 child sex offences today.

Crown prosecutor Claire Boshier asked for the two health assessors’ reports to be obtained after the verdicts of Justice Rachel Dunningham in the High Court at Christchurch, at the trial of Stanley Ross Hammond.

The reports – often by a psychologist and a psychiatrist – will assess Hammond’s future risk and give guidance at Hammond’s sentencing on May 15 about whether preventive detention should be imposed. That sentence means that inmates are held in prison until they are assessed as no longer posing a risk to the community.
Hammond was originally charged with 100 offences of child sexual abuse and making and distributing objectionable material.

He pleaded guilty before trial to a large number of the objectionable material charges, and some charges of sexual offending relating to the contents of his cellphones.

But on February 16, he began a judge-alone trial on 28 charges: 12 of sexual violation including three of rape; 12 of doing an indecent act on a child; two of indecent assault on a young person; and one of making and one of distributing objectionable material.

Hammond was caught in 2013 when a child sex abuse video was found on the phone of a man arrested in Canada. The video included the GPS co-ordinates of where it was filmed, which turned out to be an address in New Zealand where Hammond had access.

The Crown alleged he had used various cellphone apps to share the child pornography with other paedophiles. He had used these files as “currency” to trade to get more images.

Justice Dunningham said the offending involved two girls who gave evidential video interviews which were played at the trial, and evidence from the girls themselves.

“I found the evidence of the two girls credible and believable,” said the judge. “They were careful not to provide details where they could not clearly recall them. That meant that some charges could not be sustained. I was satisfied that I could rely on their accounts.”

While the credibility of the girls’ accounts stood on its own, it was well supported by the wealth of propensity evidence in the charges Hammond had already admitted or the contents of the on-line chat records on his phone.

At the end of the week of Crown evidence, she dismissed one charge of rape, one of doing an indecent act, and one of indecent assault on a young person.

Today, she found Hammond not guilty on charges of rape and sexual violation by anal intercourse, and convicted him on the remaining 23 charges. She then read him a three-strikes warning under the system which imposes heavy sentences on repeat violent or sexual offenders who have already received a warning.

Justice Dunningham ordered a pre-sentence report for the sentencing, as well as the health assessors’ reports, and victim impact reports on the two girls prepared by a psychologist. Hammond remains in custody.



Category: Focus

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