Home detention for tourist attack

Wednesday September 16, 2020 Written by Published in Crime

Shay O’Carroll was first sentenced to 22 months in jail last year but remained on community bail due to his appeal to the court.

This week, his jail sentence was quashed, when the Supreme Court sentenced him to 10 months of home detention.

O’Carroll was convicted of indecently assaulting a Kiwi tourist in her room in September 2016.

According to Justice Mark Woolford’s sentencing report last year, O’ Carroll and the victim were both on holiday and were staying in the same resort in Rarotonga.

O’Carroll was intoxicated, he went into the victim’s room, the victim was sleeping and without an invitation indecently assaulted her.

The complainant raised the incident with the hotel’s management, O’Carroll was arrested and spoken to by Cook Islands’ police in Rarotonga before being allowed to return to New Zealand.

The victim filed the complaint upon her return to New Zealand and O’Carroll pleaded guilty on May 8, 2019.

On August 19 last year, Justice Woolford had said he could not sentence O’Carroll to home detention because this was not available in Cook Islands.

He said a presentence report showed that O’Carroll took full responsibility for his actions and was deeply embarrassed and ashamed.

He also acknowledged the role that his alcohol use played in his offending.

Aggravating factors showed that the victim had ongoing trauma and there was invasion of her privacy.

O’Carroll had appealed against the 22-months jail sentence imposed by the New Zealand High Court pursuant to the Cook Islands law but this was dismissed by the Court of Appeal last year.

He again appealed to the Supreme Court and his 22-months jail term was overturned and he was sentenced to 10-months in home detention.

According to Stuff, the Supreme Court said the language in the Cook Islands Act suggests an offender can be sentenced to home detention.

“In our view, therefore, the High Court had jurisdiction to impose a sentence of home detention when sentencing Mr O’Carroll,” the Supreme Court judgment said.

O'Carroll will reside at a residential address and will not move from that address without the prior permission of his probation officer, Justice Williams said in the report.

O'Carroll is to also attend alcohol and drug counselling directed by the probation officer.                

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