17-year sentence for child rape offences

File image. © Andrew Bardwell

A judge has rejected an assessment that a convicted child sex abuse offender was a low risk of offending, and jailed him for 17 years 2 months in the Christchurch District Court.

Judge Jane Farish said she did not agree with the low-risk assessment in Christopher Michael Boniface’s pre-sentence report, prepared for his sentencing on 33 charges involving two girls.

The charges include rape and unlawful sexual connection with girls under 12, indecent assault, and doing an indecent act.

Boniface, a 41-year-old Ashburton man, was found guilty by a jury at his trial, but still denies any wrong-doing against the girls.

Judge Farish imposed a 40 percent non-parole term meaning he will serve nearly seven years before he can be considered for release on parole.

He will be placed on the sex offenders’ register when released, and if still considered a risk will be under an extended supervision order, Judge Jane Farish told the court.

She said the minimum period of imprisonment would help the girls get on with their lives without fear, concern, and the drama of his release.

The two girls read their victim impact statements to the court, the first one saying she was stressed and scared of Boniface who was forceful and manipulative. She said she had to live with a horrible secret.

The second girl said she now did not trust anyone, and was angry a lot of the time. She had flashbacks and nightmares, and a guilty feeling that it was her fault.

Crown prosecutor, Andrew McRae said the offending had lifelong effects on the two girls, who have now grown up.

Defence counsel Lester Cordwell said Boniface was still steadfast in his innocence.

Judge Jane Farish said she had listened to harrowing evidence in the trial, but both girls had real strengths and were moving on with their lives.

She said Boniface was not remorseful, but she hoped he would get to a stage where he acknowledged the offending and could apologise.

Mr Cordwell said afterwards that Boniface was considering whether to appeal the convictions.


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