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Two-year probation for indecent assault

Monday 21 March 2022 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Court, National

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Two-year probation for indecent assault
Cook Islands court house. CI NEWS/22010510

A man who indecently assaulted his relative has been told he has little motivation to take responsibility for his actions.

Hyrum Ulberg appeared for sentencing at the High Court before Chief Justice Sir Hugh Williams in Avarua on Thursday last week.

The court heard Ulberg had spent three months in custody following his arrest while a medical report was prepared.

Defence lawyer Mark Short presented a supporting letter from the defendant’s mother asking the court to seek leniency for her son so he would be able to go to New Zealand and seek professional assessment and services.

Ulberg told the court he regretted his actions and could not undo what he had done.

Justice Williams said Ulberg, 29, had no previous convictions.

“You have little motivation to take responsibility,” Justice Williams said.

“You have no psychosis or mental health issues.”

Ulberg had a “rather transient” upbringing and had abused alcohol.

“You misconceived affection on your (relative) and completely got it wrong.

“Prison is not a deterrent and it should not be an outcome.”

The summary of facts showed on July 7, 2021 about 9.15am, police received an indecent assault report from the victim.

An investigation revealed the defendant woke up early in the morning and walked into the victim’s room she was sleeping in.

The defendant saw the door to the room was open and started “thinking dirty”.

He walked into the room and saw the victim sleeping, covered with her blanket, and started playing with himself while looking at the victim.

The defendant, while playing with himself, could not control his mood and reached out with his left hand and placed it on her inner right thigh and rubbed it down towards the victim’s knee.

When touched, the victim woke up and saw the defendant, and told him to get out.

A sentence of 12 to 18 months of probation had been recommended.

“We must try and promote some sense of accountability and deter you from further offending,” Justice Williams said.

“Although jail is a possibility, there are no aggravating features.

“There is a plan, you are a young man who needs some help and guidance.

“My view is I sentence you to two years of probation with the first nine months being community service.”

Justice Williams recommended Ulberg undertake counselling as directed.

“There is a suggestion you should go to New Zealand for expert assistance.

“I cannot make that order.”

Ulberg was given a sentence of two years of probation.