March 28, 2013

Girl asks that abuser's name be published

A teenage girl has seen her childhood abuser jailed for six years nine months after putting her view that his name should be made public.

Judge Brian Callaghan refused name suppression for 53-year-old Robert Edwards after hearing from the victim and her family, who spoke in at the Christchurch District Court sentencing.

Defence counsel John Brandts-Giesen said Edwards was “bewildered” about how the offending occurred against a girl over a two-year period when she was aged seven to 10 years.

He spoke of Edwards being “haunted” by the offending, and described it as “like an unlaid ghost”.

Edwards had admitted four charges of indecently assaulting the girl when she was aged under 12, three charges of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection, inducing an indecent act, and doing an indecent act. The offending took place in Christchurch.

Edwards told his lawyer to tell the court he was “truly sorry”. He disagreed or could not recall the Crown’s account of some of the offending but had pleaded guilty so that the girl, now 17, would not have to give evidence at a trial.

The girl said in court: “I missed out on being a normal kid. I lost my innocence.”

The girl’s mother told the court that her daughter had been mentally, physically, and emotionally damaged by Edwards’ offending. The teenager was now medicated for depression and anxiety issues.

The mother said: “The rest of my life is now dedicated to her recovery.”

Judge Callaghan said the effects on the family had clearly been devastating. He hoped that the sentencing might start the process of recovery for them.

He believed Edwards had “genuine regret”, and had admitted the offending once it was out in the open.

He imposed no minimum non-parole term as part of the sentence.