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Sentence reduced for SI party scene rapes

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/12/2016

A man who committed a series of sexual offences while part of a dance party scene in the South Island has had his sentence reduced on appeal.

Mateo Melina Nixon admitted 13 charges involving six complainants in the Dunedin District Court in 2015.

On Friday the Court of Appeal declined an appeal against conviction but allowed an appeal against the sentence. It set aside his sentence of 14 years' imprisonment with an eight-year period of non parole, substituting a sentence of 13 years' imprisonment with a six-year, six-month minimum term.

Nixon argued his autistic spectrum disorder led him to misread the social cues that were before him.

He also argued that the sentence imposed upon him was manifestly excessive and that in particular the judge failed to give appropriate credit for his ASD and his remorse.

There were six rape convictions involving five complainants, and two convictions for unlawful sexual activity with a person under the age of 16. Nixon was aged between 24 and 27 at the time of the offending.

There was no defence available based on reasonable belief in consent, the Court of Appeal judgement says.

On the issue of sentencing, the starting point of 20 years' imprisonment fixed by the judge, while high, was not out of the available range.

ASD cannot be seen as mitigating culpability for the offending but rehabilitation can, the judgement says.

The Court of Appeal said it had the benefit of a recent report about Nixon.

He now has improved insight and motivation to attend therapy and further education.

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