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Repeat rapist sentenced to preventive detention

Entrance to the High Court in Auckland - Photo: justice.govt.nz

A repeat rapist has refused to leave the court cells and attend his sentencing at the High Court in Auckland.

Samuel McCarthy Utatao had also refused to enter the court room when the jury delivered their verdicts at his trial.

This morning Justice Lang ordered the 59-year-old stay where he was and hear what his sentence would be before being taken to prison.

The judge sentenced Utatao to preventive detention with a minimum non-parole period of six years.

The court heard how Utatao met a 14-year-old and her friend at a bar on Auckland's Karangahape Rd between March and April 2015.

He took them back to his flat close-by. The 14-year-old was supposed to be in the care of Child Youth and Family, now known as Oranga Tamariki.

Justice Lang said the three smoked methamphetamine before Utatao sent the friend to a nearby petrol station to get cigarettes and a soft drink.

He then approached the 14-year-old, making suggestive comments.

She locked herself in the bathroom and text messaged her friend to come back. Utatao got angry and started making threats. When the girl eventually came out, he raped her.

At Utatao's trial the young woman said Utatao was not the man who raped her. However, Justice Lang said her friend, who knew Utatao, identified him as the attacker. The girl's evidence about the flat where the attack took place also matched Utatao's flat.

Utatao's next attack took place almost a year later when he took another woman to his flat. The pair did drugs and drank alcohol. Utatao became angry and threatened to chop her up with a meat cleaver. He then forced her to do a sex act and raped her. At one point he also smashed a mirror over her head.

Justice Lang said the woman was so frightened she did not think she would ever get out of Utatao's flat alive.

The judge said Utatao had previous convictions that included an attack in 2000 when he held a woman captive in his home over days. He repeatedly beat and raped her.

He was sentenced to nine years in prison but Justice Lang said he had obviously failed to take anything away from his jail time.

Justice Lang said Utatao had told a pre-sentence report writer that he was sorry for what he had done. The judge said he found the apology was only a tactic used by Utatao to avoid talking about his offending.

Justice Lang said he had reports from mental health professionals that showed Utatao was likely to pose a high-risk to the community when he was released.

It was for that reason that he imposed a sentence of preventive detention. Utatao will have to prove he is no longer a risk to the community before he is released.


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