Crown appeals teen rapist's home detention sentence

By Contributor

A crowd gathered in Mount Maunganui protesting the home detention sentence given to teenage rapist Jayden Meyer. / Ethan Griffiths

By Ethan Griffiths, Open Justice Multimedia Journalist, Te Moana a Toi

Crown Law is appealing the home detention sentence of a teen rapist, which sparked protests and outrage around the country.

Jayden Desmond Meyer, 18, is serving a nine-month home detention sentence, imposed by Tauranga District Court judge Christopher Harding in July, for raping four girls and sexually violating a fifth.

However, Crown Law has now filed an appeal against Judge Harding's decision, the Crown Solicitor for Tauranga Anna Pollett confirmed.

The appeal is due to be heard in the High Court at Rotorua on October 22.

Pollett earlier defended her support for Meyer's home detention sentence after public outrage at the decision.

Pollett said a "rehabilitative approach is to protect the community in the long term from reoffending". The sentence included numerous conditions to ensure compliance and engagement with the rehabilitation programme, she said.

In his decision, Judge Harding had said a sentence of imprisonment being typical of this level of offending is "undoubtedly correct".

But the written sentencing decision does not detail how Judge Harding reached the conclusion home detention would be appropriate.

"I accept the probation report and the submissions of counsel that home detention on all charges is the appropriate outcome," Harding's decision reads.

There was a quick public backlash over Meyer's sentence since it was revealed by Open Justice.

Hundreds of students marched along Mt Maunganui's main street, calling for tougher sentences and an end to rape culture. Further protests took place in Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton and New Plymouth.

A petition calling for a harsher sentence for Meyer has so far received tens of thousands of signatures.

In a first-person piece published by Open Justice, one of Meyer's victims spoke of her anger at the sentence. "Justice doesn't feel as though it has been served in this case," she said.

According to district court documents obtained by Open Justice, all five victims were aged 15 at the time of the attacks. Meyer was 16.

Meyer, who has no criminal history, pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Meyer was convicted after multiple police complaints by young women in the Bay of Plenty who alleged sexual violence across 2020 and 2021.

An investigation resulted in 10 charges, including four of rape, four of sexual violation, and two of doing an indecent act.