The High Court at Auckland has overturned the sentence handed down to a comedian convicted of indecently assaulting his four-year-old daughter.The name of the man has been suppressed to protect the girl's identity.He was discharged without conviction at the Auckland District Court last September by Judge Phillipa Cunningham, who said he's a talented New Zealander who makes people laugh.At a hearing earlier this month Crown lawyer Mark Lillico sought a judicial review of the decision, saying although there were mitigating factors, it was sexual offending and there was a large disparity in ages.High Court Justice Murray Gilbert has sent the case back to the Auckland District Court for the comedian to be resentenced.
The move by the Crown to apply to have The Comedian's sentence judicially reviewed was an unusual but welcome one. We are pleased that the High Court has ordered that The Comedian's discharge without conviction be set aside and that he be resentenced.
UPDATE: We're not alone in welcoming this decision:
A group working to stop sexual violence against women and children has welcomed a decision to re-sentence a comedian who indecently assaulted his daughter.The man, who has name suppression, pleaded guilty to performing an indecent act on the child, who was in bed with him and his partner but was discharged without conviction when he appeared at Auckland District Court in September.However, in a Auckland High Court decision released yesterday Justice Murray Gilbert ruled the order discharging the man without conviction was to set aside and he would be resentenced.Stop Demand founder Denise Ritchie welcomed the decision, saying incest and child sex abuse was a "national disgrace''."Well-known people should not be getting a 'free pass' to commit sex crimes against children."To discharge offenders without conviction is a slap in the face to victims. It leaves offenders with blemish-free records and provides no deterrence to future reoffending,'' she said.