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Karla Cardno's father accused of sex offences

Monday 8 Jun 2009 6:15 p.m.

The father of Karla Cardno, the 13-year-old Wellington schoolgirl who was tortured, raped and murdered 20 years ago, has now himself been charged with committing sex crimes against an underage girl.

The offences are alleged to have happened two years after Karla’s murder.

His wife has also been charged.

Gary Duffin is no stranger to publicity – he has consistently asked the Parole Board to keep his daughter Karla Cardno's killer behind bars.

Now both Duffin and his current wife Sharyn Hills face five sex charges, including sexual violation and rape of a girl aged between 12 and 16, as well as 10 charges of supplying a class C drug to a minor.

All the charges relate to one girl in 1991 - two years after his daughter's death.

Both Duffin and Hills tried to keep their names suppressed - arguing partly that the Karla Cardno case should protect them.

“I wouldn’t say that they’re exploiting a family member,” says Media Law Lecturer Steven Price.

“I mean they’re certainly right to say that the media are going to focus on them an awful lot more than other people, and they’re right to put that before the court. It’s worth a try for their lawyers to say, ‘doesn’t this justify name suppression ‘cos we’re going to be treated more harshly than everyone else’.”

But that argument was not accepted by the Court of Appeal. 

"The presumption in favour of open justice throughout the trial process has the advantage of transparency which allows the community and the media as its representatives to assess how justice is being administered."

The appeal was based on two grounds. The first – that Duffin suffers from chronic stress, depression, high blood pressure and a hernia, while his wife has a high risk of a psychological breakdown. The fact that Duffin is Karla Cardno’s father was a secondary legal argument.

Duffin spoke to 3 News in 1999 when Paul Joseph Dally, the man convicted of Karla's murder was first up for parole.

“While Karla was tied up there to his bed, he would have heard us calling out on the street for her, and we did knock on the door and speak to that guy,” Duffy had said.

“So he had the chance to show Karla mercy and he showed none.”

Duffin and Hills will be tried at the High Court in Wellington in October.

3 News

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