Saturday, September 22, 2012

A sentence fit for an Olympian

Over the last few years there have been a few people appear before the Courts who have earned themselves nicknames because we weren't allowed to know who they were. The Comedian was one, and the Prominent Palmerstonian was another.

And another one of these mythical characters appeared for sentence yesterday having been convicted of crimes that were very, very real to the victims; The Olympian. Stuff reports:

A former Olympic athlete who raped and physically assaulted two of his former partners has been jailed for 14 years.
The man, whose name is suppressed so as not to identify his victims, was sentenced in the High Court at Auckland today by Justice Mary Peters.
He was found guilty in June of three counts of rape, one of sexual violation, one of injuring with intent and one count of male assaults female.
Justice Peters permanently suppressed the man's name and the sport he participated in to protect the identities of the two women - his  former wife and former girlfriend.
It was the second trial for the man, who was accused in 2010 of sexual and physical assaults on his then-wife.
He was found not guilty of several counts but the jury at that trial was unable to reach a decision on two counts of rape and one count of strangling the woman.
The current case was a retrial on those charges, but they were also joined by allegations he had raped, sexually violated, assaulted and kidnapped another partner in 1998 and 1999.
The jury found the man guilty of choking his wife during an argument and later raping her several times in 2008. It also found him guilty of representative charges of physical and sexual abuse against the other complainant, a former girlfriend in 1998 and 1999.
That victim described being assaulted "habitually" with attacks ranging from "backhanders" to "big frenzied attacks leaving her battered on the floor". 

We know  who The Olympian is, and what sport he represented New Zealand in. He claimed to have been rehabilitated after serving a previous term of imprisonment  for a very serious offence, but given that one of the charges for which he was sentenced yesterday occurred after he last represented New Zealand, those claims have shown to be false.

And ironically, we witnessed a domestic violence incident yesterday. We can't say too much as we may be required to give evidence at some point, but we felt a real depth of pity for the young child caught up in a war between two angry, violent adults.

Domestic violence is NEVER an acceptable solution. The Olympian has rightly been sentenced to a long term of imprisonment. He will sink from public consciousness now, as he will be too old to resume his career when he is eventually released. But his victims will live with the after-effects of his offending for the rest of their lives.

Footnote: Please note that The Olympian is subject to name suppression. We have no wish to be prosecuted, so even if you disagree with name suppression, please do not try to identify him.

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