24 Oct 2018

Plea for longer sentence for mother who pimped daughter for sex

6:36 pm on 24 October 2018

A mother who pimped out her daughter for sex as often as five times a day should have been given a harsher sentence, says Deputy Solicitor-General Brendan Horsley.

Kasmeer Lata during sentencing at the High Court in Auckland

Kasmeer Lata during sentencing at the High Court in Auckland in April. Photo: RNZ

Kasmeer Lata was sentenced to six years and 11 months in prison after manipulating her then 15-year-old daughter into working as a prostitute for 18 months until late 2016.

Lata pleaded guilty to dealing in slaves and sexually exploiting and receiving earnings from commercial sexual services provided by an underage person.

Her offending was only disclosed after her daughter had a chance meeting with a Jehovah's Witness.

At Lata's sentencing in April, Justice Muir gave her a starting point of nine years and a half in prison.

But in the Court of Appeal today, Deputy Solicitor-General Brendan Horsley said the starting point should have been 12 years at the least, leading to a longer sentence being imposed.

He disagreed with suggestions by Justice Muir that there could have been worse offending, such as threats of violence.

"It was something way more insidious," Mr Horsley said.

"The mother coerced her daughter into this sexual conduct by way of trying to say... her brothers would starve if she did not do it and then when she tried to withdraw she was... charged for her internet, her rent et cetera."

He argued that under the Sentencing Act, offenders should be given the maximum penalty or near to the maximum if the offending was within the most serious cases.

But defence lawyer Karl Trotter said Lata's offending was only on the more serious band, not the most serious.

"I would have to say... somebody younger - that would add to the gravity, multiple victims... as would actual violence or threats of violence," Mr Trotter said.

"This offending bad though it is, is of distance away from the most serious of its type."

The Court of Appeal decision has been reserved.

Lata's partner, Avneesh Sehgal, was also sentenced to four years and eight months in prison for helping her to carry out the sexual exploitation of the teenager.

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