Blair Bedingfield Purcell
NZ Herald story April 12th 2006
Gisborne businessman Blair Bedingfield Purcell has been sentenced in Napier District court to nine months jail for indecently assaulting a 15 year old girl. Purcell, 46, was convicted on February 22 after a three day trial. Judge Richard Watson said the girl had experienced nightmares since the assault. "It's clear that what occurred to her that night has been entrenched in her mind," he said
Gisborne Herald story here from December 2004, further down page
Guilty verdict in indecency trial
A jury has found Gisborne financial consultant Blair Bedingfield Purcell guilty of committing an indecent act on an 11-year-old boy but not guilty of a similar charge in relation to a 12-year-old. Name suppression was lifted on Thursday as the verdict, reached in just under two hours, was delivered before a full public gallery in Gisborne District Court.
Remanding Purcell, 45, on bail without conditions for a probation report, victim impact statement and sentence on January 14, Judge Graham Hubble said it was "not inevitable" that Purcell would be jailed. Addressing the jury before it retired, the judge said that the case had been the first in his 10 years on the bench in which a defence of intoxication was raised.
While intoxication was not in itself a defence, it was relevant to the issue of intent. "Often people will do things when intoxicated that they would not normally do when sober but if intentionally done - even if fuelled by alcohol - it is something that the person is still responsible for," the judge said. The jury needed to decide whether Purcell's level of intoxication was so bad that he was unable to form an intention to commit the crimes, the judge said.
Counsel Doug Rishworth had accepted the complainants' allegations but said that the accused was too drunk to have been acting with intent, as demonstrated by his total lack of recall of the incident. Crown prosecutor Jonathan Krebbs alleged that Purcell - a parent helper at a school camp - got into the boys' sleeping bags, touched their skin, told them that he loved them, squeezed their buttocks and thighs, and rubbed their chests.
The accused fondled the 11-year-old complainant's penis for about 20 seconds and asked to suck it, Mr Krebbs said. Character witnesses called by the defence during the trial said Purcell, a member of the Lytton High School board of trustees, had for several years been involved in student trips and coached numerous sporting activities. Alluding to that evidence, the judge said the jury needed to be mindful that even people with 40 or 50 years of past good character were capable of criminal offending.
Gisborne Herald story here from January 2005, further down page
Community work sentence after reparation made
A Gisborne businessman facing sentence for an indecent act on a boy made reparation to the boy concerned and another complainant, even though he had been acquitted on the second charge, Gisborne District Court heard yesterday.
Blair Bedingfield Purcell, 45, escaped imprisonment but received a long community work sentence and was told to take alcohol counselling.Sentencing Purcell to 300 hours community work, Judge Graham Hubble said the case was a difficult one to sentence. It did not contain the same aggravating features as most paedophilic-type offending. In Purcell's case there had been no evidence of premeditation, and it was curious that it happened in a room in which a supervisor parent was sleeping. There was no evidence that Purcell had been aroused by the offending or gained from it any sexual gratification. Purcell had no memory of the offending.
The amount of the reparation was not stated in court but was described by the judge as "substantial". The judge said that the boy's mother and grandparents were utterly furious, embittered and angry, and wanted Purcell sent to jail - as did the boy himself. It was a hugely frightening experience for the boy. Since the camp, the boy had experienced sleepless nights and anger. He monitored his bedroom door and would only sleep with his dog in the room. His whole personality had changed.
The offence occurred on an Ilminster School camp at which Purcell was a parent helper. Purcell drank "grossly excessively" and it emerged he had an alcohol problem. The judge was surprised that alcohol was available to the parents at the camp and said that no doubt this would stop in the future. He had received a lot of correspondence from community groups but could not take that into account when sentencing, the judge said.
Purcell had not pleaded guilty and the boys had to come to court to give evidence, however Purcell's election for trial was reasonable considering his apparent lack of recall of the incident, the judge said. The judge said Purcell had lost his job and had resigned from the board of Lytton High School. His parents had been in a motor accident, which added to his current problems.
Counsel Doug Rishworth said there were a number of unusual and extraordinary features about the case, including a lack of seduction. The absence of evidence of any sexual arousal or offending for sexual gratification took it out of the realm of being a case where prison was appropriate.
Purcell was sentenced to 300 hours community work, supervision for 12 months, counselling for alcohol abuse and, to ensure that he did not become involved in future offending, psychological counselling in the area of paedophilic offending if directed.
Date of Birth
Indecent assault of an 11 year old Gisborne in 2004 on a school camp
Indecent assault of a 15 year old Gisborne girl also in 2004
Sentenced to 300 hours community work (first offence) in January 2005
Sentenced to 9 months jail (second offence) in April 2006
"Front End" home detention turned down June 2006
Released August 2006
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OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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