Auckland Prison, where a man who admitted to getting a 14-year-old girl drunk so that he could sexually assault her has spent the last few years. (File photo).
A man who plied a teenage girl with alcohol before sexually assaulting her in an attack he planned with her mother remains an “undue” risk to the community four-and-a-half years later, according to the Parole Board.
Luke Aaron Smith was sentenced to six years and six months in prison after admitting to sexually violating the 14-year-old while she was unconscious in October 2015.
He had met the girl’s mother on an online dating website about a month earlier and the pair hatched a plan in a series of Skype messages to assault the victim, court documents stated.
When sentencing Smith at the Auckland District Court in July 2017, Judge Mary-Beth Sharp said Smith’s actions had “torn apart” the victim’s family.
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Smith had also pleaded guilty to charges of supplying of an objectionable publication in relation to offending against another victim and possession and supply of cannabis.
In April 2020, the now 31-year-old appeared before the Parole Board at Auckland Prison, where he has spent the past few years serving time for the offending.
In its decision, the board said while it had received an “excellent” report about Smith’s progress, describing him as a model prisoner, he was not ready to be released as he was yet to complete a Child Sex Offender Programme (CSOP).
“For today risk remains undue and parole is declined,” it said.
While in prison Smith completed a drug treatment programme.
He also worked in the officers’ kitchen and did yoga and kapa haka.
Reports about Smith submitted to the board were glowing, describing him as open, honest and “outstanding”.
After reading a submission from the victim on the morning of the Parole Board hearing, he acknowledged his offending was “a horrible act” and accepted he needed to complete the CSOP.
Smith’s lawyer, Emma Priest, argued for the hearing to be adjourned until December 2020.
However, the board said that would not give Smith enough time to complete the intensive, nine-month programme as it had been delayed due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Smith will appear before the Parole Board again in May 2021.
A LIFE CHANGED FOREVER
At Smith’s sentencing, the court heard that his offending had effectively destroyed the victim’s family.
Court documents stated Smith and the girl’s mother convinced her to drink so much alcohol she became sick and fell asleep in her mother’s bed.
When she woke up during the assault, her mother told her she was having a bad dream, and said to Smith that she “wasn’t deep enough”.
After reporting the assault to the police, the girl was put into the care of Child Youth and Family, the ministry which has since become Oranga Tamariki, and was separated from her siblings to whom she was close.
“At the time, I was shocked, confused, angry and scared … My trust with my mother was dramatically affected. I felt lost, I began not to feel safe around her, and knowing I would never be able to trust her properly again,” she wrote in a victim impact statement read to the court.
“You took my innocence away from me like it was nothing. Any punishment you receive will never be as bad as what I am going through on a daily basis.”
The case was subject to strict suppressions, which mean Stuff cannot report some details.