Sex offender's extended supervision order quashed

Wednesday 28 February 2007, 7:21PM

By Sam Farrow


A man whom the Court of Appeal described as "not what is colloquially known as a decent law abiding citizen" has succeeded in having an extended supervision order quashed.

The 10-year order was placed on Jacob Rangaiti Peta by a district court judge in January last year when he was convicted on two counts of committing an indecent act with a girl under 12.

Peta had extensive criminal convictions, beginning in 1999 with an aggravated robbery at age 14. He had since racked up a variety of convictions for offences including theft, assault, possession of a pistol, unlawful interference with a motor vehicle, escape from custody and possession of cannabis.

The Court of Appeal, in its judgment isssued today, said the sex offences happened when Peta was left in the company of a friend's children for about 10 minutes.

He was very much under the influence drugs and alcohol when he went into the room where the first victim was sleeping.

He exposed his penis and told the girl to kiss it. She pretended to be asleep, so he went into another girl's bedroom.

There he kissed the child's cheek, and indecently exposed himself again. When the child began to cry Peta left the room.

Peta told the children not to tell their mother, and, according to one of the girls in her evidential statement, threatened to kill them.

In his written statement, Peta admitted being at the house, but he claimed not to have done anything at all.

However, he pleaded guilty to the offences and was sentenced to nine months imprisonment.

The district court judge imposed the extended supervision order (ESO) after considering a report by a senior psychologist from the Department of Corrections.

The ESO regime is designed to protect the public from those who pose a real and onging risk of committing sexual offences against children and young persons. Before imposing an ESO the court had to be satisfied, after considering a health assessor's report, that the offender was likely to commit any of the relevant offences in the future.

Peta appealed against the ESO and the Court of Appeal started its hearing on July 18. On July 31 the Court of Appeal said it considered the reasons given by the district court judge for the imposition of the an ESO were so inadequate that the matter had to be reconsidered afresh.

Further evidence, which included the results of more tests and assessments of Peta, and updated submissions were heard from the Crown and Peta's lawyer on November 30.

The Court of Appeal said that it had no doubt that Peta posed a major risk of non-sexual re-offending unless he dealt with his substance abuse problem and avoided anti-social associates.

But it was not satisfied that Peta's risk of sexual recidivism against children was such to justify the imposition of an ESO.

"We are most influenced in our risk assessment by the fact that the sexual offending was not of the most serious character, it was not pursued in the face of resistance, and it appears to have been out of character," the judgment said.

Peta showed no sign of a deviant sexual interest in children, and had a strong supportive relationship with his partner and family

"We are not satisfied that the risk of relevant reoffending by Mr Peta is both real, ongoing and one that cannot be sensibly ignored having regard the nature and gravity of the likely re-offending,"' the Court of Appeal said.

The appeal was allowed and the ESO quashed.