February 1, 2017 12:33 pm

Fijian national to be deported after groping girl in public pool

A man who indecently assaulted a girl in a public spa pool will be deported from New Zealand this Friday because of the crime.

Ratnesh Anand Singh previously pleaded guilty to groping the 13-year-old on February 16, 2016, while she sat with a group of friends in the hot pool at the Todd Energy Aquatic Centre in New Plymouth.

On the day of the assault Singh, along with a friend, turned up at the compound drunk and gained access to the pool area without paying, while the receptionist’s back was turned.

The 42-year-old then stripped down to his underwear before climbing into the spa pool.

Singh and his friend started talking with the victim and her three male friends. As he reached over to shake one of the boy’s hands, he groped the girl.

Singh then made a string of sexually suggestive comments to her.

A short time later Singh got out of the spa pool and pulled down his underpants, exposing his genitals.

The pool lifeguard was informed of his behaviour and Singh, and his friend was told to leave the compound. They were both trespassed from the aquatic centre.

On Wednesday, defence lawyer Susan Hurley told the New Plymouth District Court how Singh would spend the next two nights in police custody before being sent back to Fiji.

Hurley said Singh initially pleaded not guilty to the indecent assault charge but changed his plea before the start of his hearing after he was presented with the evidence regarding the number of people who had seen the attack.

She said Singh had written a letter of apology to the teen and had fully cooperated with immigration officials regarding his impending deportation.

Hurley asked Judge Chris Sygrove to impose a community work sentence on Singh as a penalty. She said the charge represented his first conviction and the assault was a “low level” one.

Sergeant Lewis Sutton said he did not oppose a community work sentence and confirmed arrangements were already in place to deport Singh from the country. As a result of the deportation, Singh will not have to do the hours.

Sygrove said jail was often the starting point for sexual offending, but he acknowledged the deportation was a serious consequence for the defendant. The ruling meant he would not be able to come back to New Zealand as well.

“That is a good thing in my opinion given the offending you have been involved in,” Sygrove told Singh.

Singh was sentenced to 200 hours of community work, but no order was made to place him on the child sex offender register.

A first strike warning against Singh was issued during a previous court appearance.

Source: Stuff