Stephen Michael Shone
Supreme Court decisionhere
NZ Herald story 30th August 2008
A disgraced Gisborne music teacher accused of sexually abusing his students developed relationships with students he gave private lessons to, says his former principal. Stephen Michael Shone was remanded in custody on one charge of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection, 10 charges of indecent assault and one of unlawful sexual connection with a girl aged 14. The girls, aged between 13 and 16 when the offences were committed, all gave evidence in the Napier District Court earlier this week.
Former Gisborne Intermediate School principal Bruce Popham said Shone got on well with other staff, ran a diverse music programme at the school and gave no indications of any inappropriate behaviour. He was "able to inspire the students to new levels in music". "The children who were taught by him were definitely advantaged and I had no reason to be concerned," said Mr Popham. "There was no sixth sense or any indications he gave me other than trying to promote quality music." But, he said, because of a lack of music teachers of similar quality in Gisborne, Shone had a lot of pupils who would see him after hours.
Detective Sergeant Steve Smith of Gisborne CIB said Shone's offending came to the attention of the police in March last year. Mr Smith said Shone, who has been prominent as a multi-talented instrumentalist in the Gisborne music scene since his early teens, was "still highly thought of" in music circles in the community. But his offences, which date back to 2002, were a "clear breach of his personal authority and trust". "It's typical of these types of offences, they're done in private and there are no independent witnesses or anything like that," he said. Asked why it took so long for Shone's offences to be revealed, Mr Smith said: "It's more a comment on how he went about his offending".
Shone's lawyer, Adam Simperingham, told the Weekend Herald Shone had changed his earlier plea to guilty after the Crown withdrew charges of sexual violation. "He'd always maintained that sexual incidents had been consensual," he said. Earlier this week the jury was told how Shone groomed his victims and developed boyfriend-girlfriend relationships with at least three of them and committed offences with the girls at various locations. Over one month last year Shone exchanged 1547 text messages with a complainant. He will be sentenced in Gisborne on September 29.
Stuff report 29th October 2008
Gisborne teacher and music tutor Stephen Shone has been sent to prison for eight and-a-half years for sex offences against five of his teenage pupils. Shone, 30, appeared for sentence in Gisborne District Court yesterday after having been convicted in August at a trial held in Napier. He was convicted on one charge of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection, 10 charges of indecent assault, and one of unlawful sexual connection. Defence counsel Adam Simperingham said it was accepted Shone's conduct was inappropriate but he would be appealing the sentence on the basis it was "manifestly excessive".
The "complicity" of the complainants was another issue, he said. At sentencing, Judge Mike Behrens said he would find it difficult to "restrain myself" at any suggestion of proper consent being granted by the complainants. Mr Simperingham said Shone lacked remorse, which was a reflection of his personality. Shone was of good character, without previous convictions and his career was ruined by the prospect of years in prison, he said. Judge Behrens said Shone had been abusing girls for at least two years before he sexually violated a 14-year-old girl at his home for a a music lesson in November 2006.
Five counts of indecent assault against a 13-year-old girl were representative charges committed many times over six months, the judge said. Shone had exploited their age differences and breached her trust. "He told the complainant she was beautiful, that he loved her, that they could have a baby together and make music together." He also pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting a 15-year-old girl but entered his guilty plea after the girl had given evidence.
Shone received concurrent sentences for other offences against three complainants, bringing the total to eight and-a-half years. Detective Sergeant Steve Smith, of Gisborne police, said the sentence was a good and fair one. Shone had shown no remorse and four of the five complainants had given evidence.
Wednesday, 27th August 2008
A Gisborne teacher accused of sexually abusing schoolgirls has pleaded guilty to 11 of the 16 charges against him in a sudden turn in his trial in Napier District Court. The admissions by 30-year-old Stephen Michael Shone came today late on the third afternoon of his trial involving allegations by five Gisborne girls, aged 13 to 16 years at the time offences are said to have been committed.
Shone, who is also a music tutor, had denied all of the charges but with four of the complainants having given evidence, he pleaded guilty to five of seven charges of indecent assault, three of four charges of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection, both charges of performing indecent acts and one of two charges of having unlawful sexual connection. Crown prosecutors Steve Manning and Jo Rielly withdrew one charge of rape, one of sexual violation, one of indecent assault, and one of unlawful sexual connection. Offences with all four who had given evidence were admitted as the charges were read about 3.30pm, with Shone's mother present in the public gallery.
But the trial before Judge Mike Behrens QC and a jury of six men and six women will continue tomorrow, with Shone continuing to deny a single charge relating to the fifth complainant, alleging indecent assault. He claims there was no indecency with that girl, but with several of the charges laid as representative of multiple offences, Shone had conceded through defence counsel Adam Simperingham in opening addresses on Monday that there had been contact of a sexual nature with three of the girls.
Scenes where offences were said to have occurred included a motel unit while a complainant's mother was in another room, another motel when a complainant's parents were unaware she was with the teacher, a trusting family's holiday home, a classroom at Gisborne Intermediate School, and beachfront and lookout sites in Gisborne. Shone had exchanged more than 2000 text messages with one of the girls from when she was just 13 years old, many in the middle of the night, and most of a sexual or relationship nature. He had told one he liked her body, and wanted to marry her, so that they could have "beautiful musical children" together, the court was told.
Date of Birth
1978 (D.O.B. is approximate)
Sentenced to 8 years 6 months in October 2008
Later reduced to 7 years 6 months on appeal
Additional Photos & Files
Associated Media Links Stephen Michael Shone Appeal Notes Teacher admits sex offences against girls
OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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