Robert Jason Dittmer
Robert Jason Dittmer was apparently on a "high''dosage of Androcur when he attacked and sodomised a young man three years ago,seven months after being released from prison after an attack on a six-year-oldboy. Dittmer is back behind bars again, serving a sentence of preventive detention.
From Sunday Star Times article 11th January 2004
Using the anti-libido drug Androcur did nothing to prevent a paedophileattacking a young man just seven months after being released from prison. Robert Jason Dittmer is now serving preventive detention for sexually attackingand sodomising a young man while voluntarily taking a "comparatively high dose"of Androcur in November 2000. The drug is supposed to reduce sexual arousal. Dittmer had been jailed in 1996 for indecently assaulting a six- year-old boy.
He was assessed at Rolleston Prison's Kia Marama treatment unit but did notcomplete the programme after making sexual advances towards other inmates. Authorities considered him at high risk of reoffending when released andinvoked legal powers to make him serve all but three months of a 3 year 6 monthsentence. Seven months later he sexually attacked a 19-year-old man whom he met at thehalfway house where they both lived.
Dismissing his appeal, the Court of Appeal noted: "Apparently Mr Dittmer wasstill able to function sexually despite the drug. "(He) admitted to (his psychiatrist) that he was still able to functionsexually, although at a diminished level and with continued sexual fantasies.(The psychiatrist) states that such abnormal erotic interests are predictive of reoffending."
From Dominion Post story 15th August 2002
Psychiatrists were no more accurate in predicting the future danger of violentand sex offenders than tossing a coin would be, a lawyer has told the Court of Appeal.
Psychiatrists, and more recently psychologists, are asked to help judgesconsidering imposing sentences of preventive detention. The court has to lookat the likelihood of reoffending before imposing the open-ended jail term. In Wellington yesterday, lawyer Tony Ellis said lawyers and judges were nottaking seriously enough the sentencing process where preventive detention wasan option.
It was the most serious sentence possible in New Zealand but a United Nationscommittee had said it appeared to breach basic human rights, he said.Preventive detention kept people in prison for things they had not done butwere thought likely to do in future. However, Crown lawyer Simon France said the sentence complied withinternational agreements New Zealand had signed and had withstood previouslegal challenges based on the same grounds.
The sentence was intended to keep violent and sex offenders in jail when it wasthought they posed a risk to the safety of others. Until recently they were not eligible for parole till they had served at least10 years but new sentencing laws reduced that first parole assessment to fiveyears for people sentenced after the law came into effect last month.
Mr Ellis used the case of Christchurch sex offender Robert Jason Dittmer tochallenge the preventive detention sentence. He said the case was destined for the UN Human Rights Committee or the Privy Council if it did not succeed at the Court of Appeal. Five Court of Appeal judges reserved their decision.
Dittmer, who also appealed against his conviction, was sentenced in July lastyear to preventive detention on two charges of indecent assault and one ofsexual violation by unlawful sexual connection. Dittmer, then 27, was alleged to have committed the offences against a 19-year-old man. Mr Ellis said it seemed as if lawyers and judges were not giving the sentencingprocess the attention it deserved. "It is only seen as a sentencing, not as a major exercise and we need to beupping the standards of the bar (lawyers)," Mr Ellis said. "With respect, we need to up the standard of the sentencing judges also."
In Dittmer's case, it seemed sentencing had been effectively delegated topsychiatric witnesses and without the judge analysing the evidence at all. Mr Ellis said studies had shown psychiatrists were no more accurate inpredicting a person's future conduct than tossing a coin would be. In Dittmer's case the court also had a psychologist's report which was based oninformation collected while the psychologist was treating Dittmer, and wasgiven to the court in breach of medical privilege, Mr Ellis said.
However, Mr France said Dittmer was told when he began treatment that theinformation gathered during treatment could be used in reports for courts. Dittmer was correctly sentenced to preventive detention and the Court of Appealshould not run the risk of Dittmer making another victim, he said.
From Christchurch Press story 14th June 2002
A Christchurch inmate who was placed in a cell where one of his friends hadjust hanged himself is suing prison authorities, saying he is beingpsychologically tortured.
Robert Jason Dittmer, a sex offender serving preventative detention, is amongeight inmates taking a civil claim for being held in solitary confinement forlong periods. Each wants the conditions of their detention declared unlawfuland at least $5000 in damages.
The claim was filed in Wellington yesterday against the Corrections Department,the Attorney-General, prison officials, and medical officers. Some of theprisoners have been held under a controversial "behaviour management regime" atAuckland's Paremoremo Prison for long stretches. In Dittmer's case, he is serving three months solitary confinement atChristchurch Prison while awaiting a placement on the Auckland programme.
In his statement of claim, Dittmer, in his late 20s, said he was placed inisolation last year soon after being sentenced to preventative detention on twocharges of indecent assault and one of sexual violation. He had indecently assaulted and then sodomised a 19-year-old youth.Dittmer said he was given a radio after about 10 days in isolation. He said hewas later put in a single cell, where one of his "better friends" had justhanged himself. He complained of feeling suicidal and was on psychiatric medication.
Dittmer claims his mental state was not examined by a doctor, before he wastold he would be sent to the Auckland regime. Another inmate, convicted killer Christopher Hapimana Taunoa, has spent a total of two years, nine months in the regime. He was jailed for life in 1997 formurdering Sanson publican Hugh Lynch. Taunoa claims he was not given enough bedding for cold nights and that hedropped 13kg in weight during the programme.
Taunoa said the lights were constantly on, disturbing his sleep patterns. Notelevision or radio was allowed. He said he suffered nightmares and otherpsychological disturbances. Wellington human rights lawyer Tony Ellis, who represents the inmates, saidlong periods of solitary could cause post- traumatic stress disorder andincarceration syndrome. Corrections Minister Matt Robson said his department would defend the action.
Howard League for Penal Reform president Peter Williams, QC, supported civilaction being taken, after a long history of suicides and self-harm atParemoremo. Tougher sentencing campaigner Norm Withers questioned why the welfare ofcriminals was always put before that of victims.
From Christchurch Press story 13th July 2001
A 27-year-old man judged a high risk for sexual reoffending has been sentencedto an open-ended term of preventive detention.Beneficiary Robert Jason Dittmer's history of sexual offending resulted in hisbeing sent to the High Court at Christchurch after he was found guilty in aDistrict Court jury trial. He appeared for sentence yesterday before Justice Fraser on two charges ofindecent assault and one of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection.
His Honour said Dittmer had struck up a friendship with a 19-year- old youth hemet while they were staying at a hostel. A year ago, while walking in a park,Dittmer had indecently assaulted the younger man and then sodomised him. "The incident has had severe psychological consequences for the victim," thejudge said. Counsel Mervyn Glue, who appeared with John Verry for Dittmer, said theintention of the legislation was "preventive rather than punitive".
He said Dittmer said he had freely admitted his past offending because he feltguilt and remorse for his conduct. "Most of the offences he admitted had notpreviously come to the attention of the authorities," Mr Glue said. "Heconsiders this demonstrates remorse... "A finite term of imprisonment is more appropriate here than the imposition ofan indeterminate sentence," he said.
Crown prosecutor Jane Farish said: "It seems apparent that this person has hada substantial intervention by the forensic services while in prison and whenreleased. Despite that, and chemical intervention, he still has continued tooffend... "The paramount consideration is the protection of the public and that can onlybe achieved by a sentence of preventive detention," she said.
Justice Fraser noted that Dittmer had been jailed in 1996 for indecencies withboys, and unlawful sexual connection. When District Court Judge DavidHolderness declined to sentence Dittmer last week, he noted that Dittmer had ahistory of indecent exposure and making obscene phone calls.
His Honour yesterday quoted from a psychiatric report: "Regretfully I mustconclude that the evolution of Mr Dittmer's sexual offending, its nature andextent, lack of response to intensive treatment, and his own admissions, leadme to conclude that Mr Dittmer is at high risk of reoffending." Justice Fraser said he also considered there was a substantial risk ofreoffending.
The indefinite sentence will have Dittmer jailed for at least 10 years, andgives prison authorities the power to keep him in jail until he is deemed safeto be released back into the community.
From Christchurch Press story 6th July 2001
A convicted pedophile is facing a term of preventive detention after beingfound guilty of sodomising a vulnerable teenager soon after being released fromjail. Christchurch District Court Judge David Holderness declined to sentencebeneficiary Robert Jason Dittmer, 26, on two charges of indecent assault andone of sexual violation.
Instead, he acceded to an application by prosecutor Jane Farish that Dittmershould be remanded to the High Court for consideration for a sentence ofpreventive detention. If imposed, the indefinite sentence would see Dittmer jailed for at least 10years, and gives prison authorities the power to keep him in jail until he isdeemed to be safe to be released back into the community.
Dittmer had a history of indecent exposure and making obscene phone callsbefore he was jailed for 3 1/2 years in November 1996 for three charges ofsexually violating a six-year-old boy, together with charges of indecentassault, doing an indecent act, and inducing an indecent act. He was given credit at the time by Judge Stephen Erber for voluntarily bringingthe offending to the notice of the police, his stated remorse, and for hisguilty plea.
His lawyer, Paul McMenamin, had described Dittmer in 1996 as a "pathetic andfairly inadequate young man" who had difficulty in making the transition tomanhood. In court yesterday, Judge Holderness said that Dittmer's release from that jailterm had been delayed by prison authorities until near the expiry of thesentence.
His eventual release early last year had been on condition that he stay at aninner Christchurch hostel and undertook psychological and psychiatriccounselling, but soon after regaining his freedom he offended again, this timeagainst a 19-year-old man who was also staying at the hostel.
Dittmer denied a charge of sodomy and two of indecent assault, but was foundguilty at trial last month. Judge Holderness said he had no doubt that it wasappropriate for the High Court to consider a sentence of preventive detention. Mervyn Glue, defending, did not oppose the application to remand Dittmer incustody to the High Court.
From Christchurch Press story 11th October 1996
A 21-year-old man who admitted several indecency charges in the ChristchurchDistrict Court yesterday was remanded in custody. Robert Jason Dittmer, 21, was convicted and remanded on three charges of sexualviolation, and one charge each of indecent assault, doing an indecent act, andinducing an indecent act. All the charges relate to a six-year-old boy, and occurred between July 15 andSeptember 12.
Sergeant Jim Cumming told the court how Dittmer formed a friendship with a 42-year-old woman and began staying nights. He went into the boy's bedroom to read him bedtime stories and, over time,began touching him indecently and inducing the boy to perform indecent acts onhim. When questioned about the occurances by police, he admitted everything.
Sergeant Cumming said Dittmer required treatment and recommended apsychological report be completed. Judge Michael Green remanded Dittmer until October 24 for a psychologicalreport and sentence.
Date of Birth
1974 (D.O.B. is approximate)
Sentenced for an indefinite period in July 2001
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OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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