Allen John Luce
From the Dominion Post 03/11/2007
A DYING child abuser has had two years cut from his prison term. Allen John Luce's sentence is now down to five years' jail, but he is expected to have no more than two to three years to live as his kidneys and heart fail.
In November 2003, Luce, now 55, snatched a three-year-old girl from a park while her family watched gokarts nearby and sexually violated her. In January 2004, he waited till a nine-year-old was alone in the toy section of a store, grabbed her and touched her through her shorts.
A jury in the Palmerston North District Court found him guilty of sexual violation and indecent assault, but Luce continued to deny the offending. The district court judge excluded Luce's poor health as a factor to be taken into account on sentencing, noting that it had not stopped him from offending.
With four earlier indecent assault convictions,Luce was a recidivist paedophile whose behaviour deserved "utmost condemnation", the judge said. The Court of Appeal said the only issue now was if Luce's extremely poor health and short life expectancy justified shortening an appropriate sentence.
It was given a updated report about Luce's health. He began dialysis in 1981 and had a kidney transplant in 1984, which failed in 2005. He now needs dialysis and has severely impaired heart function. The three Court of Appeal judges, in a decision that Justice Patrick Keane gave, said exercising mercy had been done with caution in case ill health could become a licence to offend and avoid accountability. Both the Corrections Department chief executive and the Parole Board have powers to freesick prisoners early.
Justice Keane said Luce's extreme ill health coupled with low life expectancy meant the usual purposes and principles of sentencing had become increasingly "notional" and the difficulties of serving a jail term had become so clear that it should be recognised in the sentence.
Date of Birth
1952 (D.O.B. is approximate)
Sentenced to 7 years with a 4 year minimum non-parole period in May 2007
Reduced to 5 years with early release after 20 months on appeal in November 2007
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Associated Media Links Allen John Luce Appeal Notes
OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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