Tuakeu Cecil Puna, 40, was found guilty by a jury on eight charges of making intimate visual recordings, one of attempting to do so and 17 of possessing such recordings.
Judge David McNaughton said Tuakeu Puna’s offending, which occurred over more than a year and involved scores of victims, showed a “callous disregard for women in general.”
On Sunday (CI time) Puna, who appeared in the Manukau District Court, was jailed for 20 months.
The court was told Puna would scour South Auckland malls looking for young attractive women. He would arrive either early in the morning or just as the shops were closing so there were fewer witnesses. He would even take his daughter with him sometimes to provide cover.
He was eventually caught in the act in a hardware store
When police seized Puna’s electronic devices they found he had edited some of the up-skirt videos in slow motion and some were set to music.
Meyrick argued they were not for his client’s sexual gratification but were more about the “thrill of the chase.”
However, the judge labelled the recordings as “sleazy and exploitative” and said they were essentially home-made porn movies without the explicit sexual element.
Victims told the court they had become paranoid and felt violated since discovering they had been filmed without their knowledge or consent.
One said she was violently sick after giving trial evidence, while another described the incidents as symptomatic of “rape culture.”
The court was told Puna had been charged over similar offending in 2013 when he stalked a woman around a shopping mall before putting his hand up her skirt. He denied the charge but was found guilty after security camera footage showed him groping the victim.
After a “glowing” pre-sentence report, Judge Anna Johns deemed him to be at low risk of reoffending and sentenced him to community detention.
“Clearly you were then and still are a high risk of further offending. You managed to deceive Probation and the judge on that occasion, but not this time,” Judge McNaughton said.
Puna continued to deny that indecent assault and claimed the material found on his electronic devices must have been left over from previous owners. Crown prosecutor Zoe Hamill said some of the devices were encrypted and the defendant had refused to tell police the passwords.
She asked for the judge to make an order for destruction of the three phones, three hard drives, camera, laptop and USB drive, which he accordingly did.
Meyrick indicated both that decision and the convictions would be appealed.
Tuakeu Puna is the second nephew of the PM Henry Puna to have got on the wrong side of the law in New Zealand this year.
In January, secondary school teacher Nga Puna was arrested in Auckland over his student loan debt, which with the addition of interest, had blown out from $40,000 to $130,000. He was only allowed to leave the country after repaying some of the debt. It was the first time New Zealand’s Inland Revenue had used its power to detain someone with unpaid student debt.
- NZ Herald/CS