'Hundreds' of rapes of kōtiro; Man jailed for 12 years

By Contributor

Photo / NZME File

By Tara Shaskey, Open Justice multimedia journalist, Taranaki

While enduring the trauma of being raped hundreds of times over multiple years, a girl has shown remarkable strength in an expression of empathy towards her offender.

The teen made clear the damage she has suffered at the hands of her rapist, Ryan Anthony Shaw, yet encouraged him to view jail as a positive opportunity to receive help rather than a punishment.

She hoped Shaw, who was jailed in 1996 for sexual offending against another young girl, was able to rehabilitate, she told him through a victim impact statement referenced in New Plymouth District Court on Wednesday.

It was a grace acknowledged by the court, with Judge Gregory Hikaka pointing out the girl had managed an empathy toward Shaw, 47, that he had not shown even a hint of during the years he sexually abused her "in the most dreadful fashion imaginable".

The girl was raped by Shaw three to four times a week over a number of years, beginning in 2014.

He would make her watch pornography with him, including sexual acts involving animals and people, and would keep a personal record tracking her periods.

The abuse came to an end last year and soon after the girl disclosed to somebody that Shaw had taken her virginity.

It took some months and the support of those she had confided in before she was ready to speak to police.

In November 2021, officers spoke to Shaw and he immediately admitted to sexual activity with the girl but claimed it had been consensual.

She has been left feeling lonely, depressed and useless.

The girl told Shaw through her statement that he had degraded her and stripped her of her dignity.

"I will live with this for the rest of my life and no matter what kind of therapy or counselling I get nothing will change or help me recover from the damage you have done," she said.

"If I had a superpower, I would erase the time and start all over again with the knowledge I have today so I could save myself."

Crown prosecutor Justin Marinovich suggested a start point of 18 years imprisonment with an uplift of 12 months for Shaw's previous offending, and a minimum period of imprisonment (MPI).

He said the rapes were premeditated to a high degree with Shaw taking predatory steps to groom her.

The harm to the girl was clear, she was vulnerable, there was a breach of trust, and the scale of offending was serious, Marinovich said.

"We are talking about a rape occurring in the hundreds. One alone is serious enough in terms of the scale of offending," he said.

But defence lawyer Kylie Pascoe argued the level of premeditation had been overstated by the prosecution as was the scale of offending.

However, she accepted the breach of trust, the harm to the girl and her vulnerability.

Pascoe sought a start point of 16 years' jail with an uplift of six to eight months for the previous offending and asked if the court was to impose an MPI that it was kept to only half of Shaw's sentence.

Prosecution further submitted that a cultural report canvassing his background, which included sexual abuse, violence and a head injury, failed to provide a link to his offending.

But defence said there was a clear nexus and he was highly motivated to get help.

Judge Hikaka questioned whether Shaw, who appeared via audio-visual link from Whanganui Prison and continued to interrupt the sentencing process to dispute the agreed facts, was truly remorseful.

On a representative charge of rape of a female under 12, he adopted defence's start point of 16 years' imprisonment and applied an uplift of 12 months.

Following a discount for a guilty plea and a small reduction for personal circumstances, Shaw was jailed for 12 years and an MPI of six years was imposed.