Dramatic scenes in Kaitaia court
By Amanda Gillies
There were dramatic scenes in the Kaitaia District Court dock today as two men from the community appeared on child sex offences.
One cried, the other collapsed.
In tears was schoolteacher James Parker, due to hear what punishment fitted the crimes to which he has pleaded guilty. And in hospital by the end of the day was Daniel Taylor, a businessman and caregiver who'd been officially approved by Child, Youth and Family (CYF).
As he heard the judge read out the 19 child sex charges against him, Taylor collapsed. He managed to pull himself together, and told police he was alright, but minutes later he collapsed again.
He was carried out, the hearing was adjourned, and ambulance staff were called. Taylor never returned.
Earlier his lawyer had told the court Taylor was playful with children and insisted he never acted violently or sexually aggressively towards them.
He argued the allegations – such as touching boys’ bottoms through their clothes and licking a complainant's stomach – were minor, and included things, he said, a mother might do to her child.
But the judge and police referred to more serious acts, too gross for 3 News to report, over a period of five years.
“This is what is referred to as grooming," says says Sgt Paul Brocas. "This defendant had placed himself in a position where these young vulnerable people trusted in him."
The court heard that when Taylor first learned about the investigation into his alleged offences, he immediately resigned from his job and planned to move to Australia. The police said he was a flight risk and opposed bail, adding if he was out he would be able to contact his alleged victims. Bail was denied.
Thirty minutes later, a second man entered the dock – former deputy school principal Parker. He was due to be sentenced on 49 charges. Many of his victims sat in the public gallery.
But his punishment will have to wait, as 23 new charges were laid. Parker didn't enter any plea - he just stood still, head bowed, crying.
Justice Greg Davis says the extent of Parker’s offending is unprecedented in this country.
“I have not been able to find similar offending and the extent of similar offending that has occurred in New Zealand in the past,” he says.
A local grandmother described the effect his actions have had on the community.
“He has destroyed our kids,” she says. “These boys, he stole their childhood… I don't give a shit about him any more, it's about these boys.”
A pre-sentence report had recommended preventive detention – locking him up and throwing away the key.