Sex offender’s world continues to shrink

Gustafoham Harris’ world is steadily shrinking.

As a sex offender from New Zealand, he was deported from Australia last year.

That put him under the Returning Offender legislation which has a rule that he is not allowed to travel outside New Zealand.

Then he was arrested for an indecency incident involving three young girls in Christchurch on June 16.

He was sentenced for that in the Christchurch District Court yesterday, and there is now a new rule banning him from libraries, schools, parks, playgrounds – anywhere that children might gather.

And he has begun serving a 12-month jail term, which will be followed by 18 months of close monitoring.

He will also be registered as a child sex offender.

Forty-two-year-old Harris has a record of similar offending in Australia.

He was sent back to Christchurch where he has little family support.

He had a job and a flat, but he has now lost both of those.

Defence counsel Sabrina Forrester said at his sentencing that he felt let down since his arrival in New Zealand because of the lack of professional treatment and support available to him. He acknowledged that work still needed to be done to manage his risk, and he was apologetic.

Judge Bridget Mackintosh said Harris “still seems to have some distorted thinking processes”.

Probation said that while he was being monitored, a place might be found for him at the Stop treatment programme for sex offenders.

About 3pm on June 16, Harris biked to Richmond Park in suburban Christchurch where he approached three girls aged 9 and 10. He asked them to hold his bike while he urinated, which he then did.

When he asked one of the girls to come closer, she ran away and hid.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of doing an indecent act in a public place.

Judge Macintosh said Harris had been convicted of sex offending and had “quite a history” in Australia. “You are someone who needs to be managed carefully in the community here.”

Harris had had extensive treatment in Australia but had not been able to follow through and the latest offending took place while he was being electronically monitored.

The mothers of the three girls were in court to see his sentencing. Judge Macintosh said the girls had been given some independence, but Harris’ offending had made them nervous and they now did not like being by themselves.

Harris will continue to be electronically monitored, will be assessed, and can only do approved work and live at an approved address.

He cannot consume alcohol or illicit drugs and will have to attend rehabilitation programmes as required.

As well as being banned from most places, he is not allowed to associate with anyone under 16 without the approval of his probation officer.

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