Bernard Clifford Hughes
-->From the Christchurch Press 10th September 1998
A Tauranga beneficiary with a 42-year history of sexual offending was labelled "disgraceful" when he appeared for sentencing before Justice Anderson in the High Court in Rotorua. Bernard Clifford Hughes, 60, represented by Paul Mabey, had previously pleaded guilty to sexually violating a five-year-old boy. He was jailed for nine and-a-half years yesterday. The matter had been referred to the High Court from the district court, after the judge concluded that there might be a case for Hughes being sentenced to an indefinite term of preventive detention.
Mr Mabey argued against this, instead asking Justice Anderson to impose a conventional, fixed-term penalty. "While the nature of the offending and its gravity must be acknowledged, his previous offences are historic," Mr Mabey said. A pre-sentence report concluded that Hughes was sorry he had ruined the boy's life, and he admitted the offence. "Preventive detention is not necessary and it would be obsessive to impose it when the need to protect society can be adequately satisfied by a finite term," Mr Mabey said. The public needed to be protected from Hughes, Crown Solicitor Greg Hollister-Jones said.
"This offence was deliberate and premeditated against a very young and vulnerable child, when the prisoner was in a position of trust with that child," Mr Hollister-Jones said. A psychiatric report said there was a significant chance that Hughes would re-offend, and that he had a tendency to minimise the gravity of his offending. In sentencing Hughes, Justice Anderson said that this was the fifth time he had come before the courts for sexual offences. In 1956 he was sent to borstal for having sexual intercourse with underage girls; in 1963 he was fined for the same sort of offences; in 1976 he was jailed for four years for rape; and in 1981 he was jailed for 15 months for sexual offences against underage girls.
"This present offending is a disturbing shift in the nature of your sexual criminality. It's really inexplicable. This poor little lad was known to you, trusted you, and was subjected to this sadistic horror," Justice Anderson said. "This offending had occurred 17 years after you last appeared before the court on a sexual matter, and that long delay is significant because it shows that you can keep out of trouble if you put your mind to it. "You are almost 61 years of age. What a disgraceful way to act in the mature years of your life. The aggravating factors are obvious. The victim was child, a tiny tot. He trusted you, and you breached that trust. The family trusted you, and you breached that trust too," Justice Anderson said. The mitigating factor was the fact that Hughes had pleaded guilty and spared the boy the trauma of going through a trial, the judge said
Date of Birth
1937 (D.O.B. is approximate)
Sentenced to 9 years 6 months in September 1998
Sentenced to another 3 years in December 2012
Serving a 4 year cumulative term in August 2013
Additional Photos & Files
Associated Media Links Bernard Clifford Hughes Sentencing Notes
OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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