Preventive detention for abuse of fourth child

September 25, 2017 | By More

File image. © Andrew Bardwell

A 52-year-old Christchurch man has been jailed indefinitely for sex offences against a fourth child which followed years of intensive rehabilitation.

Rene De Kwant was given preventive detention by Justice Cameron Mander in the High Court at Christchurch, after admitting a representative charge about a series of indecent acts on an eight-year-old boy.

De Kwant has already served a nine-year jail term for sexual offending against three children.

Justice Mander told him: “You have been offending against children since 1990. You remain a high risk of reoffending and the level of harm you present is significant. I am satisfied that preventive detention is the appropriate response.”

Under the order, De Kwant cannot be considered for parole for five years, and then he will not be released until the Parole Board accepts his risk to the community has lowered.

Justice Mander also gave him a first-strike warning, under the system which imposes harsher sentences on people who reoffend with serious crimes.

In his latest offending, De Kwant befriended the boy’s mother and told her he “felt he had a personal connection with the child”. That led to him masturbating the boy several times when he was alone with him. The boy eventually disclosed the offending to his mother.

Justice Mander said the boy had been left “physically and emotionally exhausted” by the offending. His parents feel the child has regressed, suffers social problems at school, and has a fear of adult males.

Defence counsel Elizabeth Bulger urged that a finite prison term be imposed rather than an open-ended preventive detention term. She said De Kwant was willing to take any treatment or intervention arranged for him. He continued to have good support in the community.

The pre-sentence report writer referred to De Kwant being “angry and disgusted with himself”, and his expressions of remorse and shame were assessed as being genuine. But Justice Mander said it was “coupled with a high degree of self-pity for your situation”.

Justice Mander said he could only impose preventive detention if he was satisfied that De Kwant was likely to commit another qualifying offence after his release from custody.

“The protection of the community must be considered,” he said, referring to the long term difficulties De Kwant had caused to the child and his family.

“He is the fourth child on whom you have inflicted this insidious damage,” said the judge.

He noted that De Kwant had already undergone treatment including the Kia Marama programme for sex offenders, the Stop programme, and 47 one-on-one sessions with a clinical psychologist.

The treatment had not prevented him from reverting to a pattern of behaviour which included the sexual abuse of a child. He had abandoned the various teachings and skills he had been given, and the “refresher” course he had done. “You say you were shocked by the extent to which had strayed,” said the judge.

De Kwant was capable of separating his offending from the rest of his life, and remaining apparently normal to others. Although he had lived successfully in the community for a period, he had “failed to sustain the gains you achieved from previous intensive treatment”.

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