Uncle overheard sexual assault on 15-year-old’s phone tracking app

ByLance T. Lee

Mar 29, 2022

While a 15-year-old boy was unconsciously sexually assaulted, his uncle listened on a tracking app installed on his cellphone.

The boy – affected by alcohol and cannabis supplied by his attacker, Christopher James White – had no memory of the sexual assault.

But the uncle texted White the next day claiming to be the victim and asking what had happened. This brought a confession to the “victim” and an admission of White to his supervisor under the Child Sex Offender Registration Program within 48 hours.

He admitted the offense to police and pleaded guilty in Christchurch District Court to the charge of unlawful intercourse – oral sex – with the youngster.

Due to the 29-year-old White’s criminal record, the District Court sent the case back to the High Court to be dealt with and ordered the review of the two health assessment reports needed for the examination of a sentence of preventive detention for an indefinite period.

This was dealt with by Judge Jonathan Eaton at the Christchurch High Court today when White avoided the remand sentence.

But because he is a repeat offender, he will have to serve the full two-year, seven-month prison sentence imposed on him, and Judge Eaton has suggested that the custodial sentence could be followed by an order prolonged surveillance that would keep him under strict controls for up to 10 years.

He warned White that he now faces a serious risk of being given an indefinite sentence “unless you make sure you direct your sexual attention only to consenting adults”.

White had been convicted and sentenced to community detention and intensive supervision in 2011 for a sex offense, and sentenced again in 2012 when he received a first strike warning and jailed for two years and two months.

Various treatment options had been tried, but Crown prosecutor Jade Lancaster said White either failed to engage in the programs properly, or they weren’t enough because he continued to to offend.

In a session with a health assessor, White said there could now be 21 victims of his crime, including cases where there had been no prosecution. He had been assessed as being at high risk for sexual recidivism after targeting pre- and post-pubescent male victims whom he deemed vulnerable to manipulation.

In this case, White had arranged for the 15-year-old boy to go to his address in June 2021 where they drank alcohol and smoked cannabis. The teenager passed out during oral sex, around midnight, but the boy’s uncle was listening on his phone to an app installed so he could follow him.

Defense attorney Natalie Wham said some of the health assessors’ reports on White – five in total – were prepared for sentencing and for consideration of a previous application for an extended supervision order – were “equivocal” about the risk it posed.

The preventive detention sentences were not punitive, but aimed at managing the risk to the community, and she suggested a limited prison sentence and an ESO could adequately manage the risk it posed.

White had expressed his willingness to do whatever rehabilitation he needed to avoid further offenses. “He doesn’t want to do it again,” she said.

Judge Eaton considered the Crown’s requests for preventive detention, but ruled that the limited prison sentence – White will serve all of it as a repeat offender – followed by a likely extended supervision order, would be sufficient to manage the risk it posed.

He noted that White consistently pleaded guilty to his offense and was willing to seek treatment, even though he was unsuccessful. He noted that he was young at the start of his offense and had not been convicted for nine years.

– David Clarkson, Open Justice


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