Family groups exchanged angry words outside Rangiora District Court as a local teenager got a home detention sentence for indecent assaults on two 14-year-old girls.
Troy Michael Hansen got five months home detention and a final warning from Judge Noel Walsh who had decided that three weeks on remand in custody was enough jail time for the 19-year-old.
"You think about those two young girls and what you did to them. If it happens again you will be locked up for a long, long time," said the judge at today's sentencing that followed the young BMX star's guilty pleas on January 20.
He has previous convictions for which he got supervision, community detention, and community work sentences. "I ask myself what difference those sentences have really made, when you reoffended."
Hansen groped the breasts and bottoms of the two girls, who were schoolfriends, as they walked home through the grounds of a Rangiora school on October 25.
The victim impact report from one girl said she no longer went out by herself and still had nightmares. The smallest noise woke her up.
The other girl wrote of panic attacks and said she would not go anywhere by herself. "I always feel like I am being followed."
Defence counsel Baden Meyer argued that home detention and supervision would be the appropriate sentence, rather than imprisonment. "It would allow him to undertake the rehabilitation he clearly needs."
Hansen had begun counselling on his own initiative in December, he said.
He had found the time in custody very difficult and had been closely monitored because of concerns for his safety.
He had been previously been employed as a horticultural apprentice but had lost that job because of publicity about the case when he lost his name suppression appeal.
Mr Meyer expressed Hansen's public apology to the victims, their families, and the community, and at the end of the sentencing Judge Walsh gave Hansen the chance to speak the families of the girls, who were in court.
Hansen replied: "I am so sorry this all happened. I guess maybe I should have been going to prison."
Judge Walsh sentenced him to five months home detention at an address in Waikuku, north of Christchurch, and supervision for a year with the special condition that he undergo psychological counselling as required by the probation officer.
The police court escort intervened to halt the exchange of ill-feeling between the family groups in the court house doorway. It continued for a time on the street outside.