Jail for date-rape of sleeping woman

February 10, 2016 | By More
File image. © Andrew Bardwell

File image. © Andrew Bardwell

A 27-year-old man starting a three-year six-month jail term for rape has described his victim as “a lovely person” and said he hopes she can eventually forgive him.

Chester Grant Gibson made his comments about his date-rape victim as his apology was voiced by his defence counsel Phillip Allan at the Christchurch District Court sentencing.

Gibson has been held in custody since he pleaded guilty to the rape charge in January, and Judge David Saunders has now jailed him after reducing his sentence for his remorse, his previous good character, and his willingness to meet his victim at a restorative justice conference.

Gibson had admitted having sex with the woman who visited his flat on their first date after meeting online, after they had drunk together, smoked cigarettes, and after she had taken a prescribed painkiller tablet.

The pair had been cuddling on Gibson’s bed before she fell asleep. He then had sex with her but he has accepted that he should have realised that the woman was asleep and not consenting.

Prosecutor Steve Burdes said the Crown accepted that the offending was at the lower end of the scale for this type of offence.

The woman had declined to meet Gibson at a restorative justice meeting ahead of the sentencing, but Judge Saunders said the meeting could still be arranged if she changed her mind later.

Mr Allan said Gibson had “refound his faith” and this had given him the strength to do the right thing and plead guilty, and to realise that he had been sometimes using alcohol to get over his loneliness.

He said Gibson wanted her to know he attend if she ever decided she wanted a restorative justice meeting.

He thanked her for the “graciousness” of her victim impact statement, and the fact that she had mentioned the impact on him as well as on her.

“He is truly sorry and if the letter he wrote expresses that remorse oddly, he is sorry about that, too,” said Mr Allan.

Gibson understood the woman’s comments about forgiveness but hoped that in the future she would find it in her heart to forgive him. The blame for what happened was entirely his.

He said Gibson said she was “a lovely person and he is extremely sorry”.

Judge Saunders said it was opportunistic offending against a vulnerable victim who had fallen asleep. He accepted Gibson was remorseful, and he had read a considerable number of references from people who knew him and spoke well of him.

 

 

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