Discharge for elderly sex offender

A judge was left pondering what to do with a 73-year-old sex offender who has not offended for 40 years and has already completed his rehabilitation.

Christchurch District Court Judge Jane Farish noted that although Peter Lindsay Armitage had pleaded guilty to two indecent assault charges involving a boy aged 5 to 8 years before 1981, he had no recollection of the boy.

The offending took place on a chicken farm in North Eyre Road in rural North Canterbury before 1981.

Armitage was convicted and sentenced for historic sex offending in 2017, involving a boy in 1977 and 1978. After his sentencing, the police appealed for other victims to come forward. A man now aged 45 approached the police in August 2017.

Defence counsel Craig Ruane said Armitage did not dispute the Crown’s summary of facts but simply had no recollection of the boy and his family. He handed the judge updated references from members of Armitage’s family, and a letter of apology.

Judge Farish wondered, “What am I going to do with him?”

She noted that Armitage had not offended for more than 40 years. He had completed the Stop rehabilitation programme and its report assessed him as being highly unlikely to reoffend. He had a strong level of “protective factors” and “coping strategies” in his life.

She believed that if the latest charges had been before the judge at Armitage’s 2017 sentencing, they would have made little difference to the sentence imposed.

She convicted and discharged him.