Crown says finite sentence for Alosio Taimo won't protect community

6:51 pm on 31 July 2019

The Solicitor General has challenged the finite jail term imposed on an Auckland rugby coach who abused young boys over three decades.

Alosio Taimo on trial in the Auckland High Court.

Alosio Taimo, 56, was jailed him for 22 years with a minimum non-parole period of 10 years. Photo: RNZ / Edward Gay

Alosio Taimo, 56, was found guilty of 95 sex charges relating to 17 victims after a nine-week trial in the High Court at Auckland last year.

Justice Moore jailed him for 22 years with a minimum non-parole period of 10 years but stopped short of imposing an indefinite sentence of preventive detention.

This afternoon Crown Solicitor at Manukau Natalie Walker told the Court of Appeal a finite sentence would not protect the community from Taimo.

"The appellant's case in a nutshell is that the learned trial judge understated Mr Taimo's risk of reoffending and overstated his ability to rehabilitate.

"The appellant submits the only correct sentence for sexual offending which was described as being on an unprecedented scale was one of preventive detention, even if only for a first offender."

Taimo's offending began when he was 25 years old and continued for three decades until he was confronted and arrested in 2016.

The Samoan man abused boys aged nine to 16 while working as a teacher aide and and rugby coach in school sheds, his home and his car.

He will be eligible for parole when he is 66 years old and, if not released earlier, will be 78 when he has served his full prison sentence.

Ms Walker said neither age nor poor health would reduce Taimo's capacity to reoffend.

"Mr Taimo's prospects of rehabilitation must be seen as low given his entrenched offending behaviour. This was, on any estimate, offending on a grand scale."

Defence lawyer Panama Le'au'anae accepted the offending was extreme but said his client was now a marked man and wouldn't get anywhere near children again.

"In the Pasifika community everybody knows what he's done. He can be categorised as the sexual predator of South Auckland."

Justice Miller questioned the assumption Taimo had been completely ostracised from the community in which he had offended in.

"He maintains a good deal of support from people who, on the face of it, are more than happy to allow him access to their children.

"And as long as he maintains his denials it would not be surprising if his word was respected by some people."

Mr Le'au'anae said Taimo had expressed "some acknowledgement" of his offending and only had his daughter and sister to support him.

"In my view Mr Taimo is a marked man. He won't be able to go out into the community as he has already. I can say from where he is now, he even refuses to come out of his cell.

"He feels very vulnerable and threatened and I suppose by way of analogy that is what he is going to face when he gets out into the community."

The three Court of Appeal judges Justice Miller, Justice Woolford and Justice Peters reserved their decision.