An immigrant Indian national who groomed and sexually violated a young teen believes his nine-year prison sentence should be cut short due to his inevitable deportation - which is causing him "anguish".
But the Court of Appeal has disagreed and rejected Satnam Singh's bid for a shorter jail term.
Singh met the 14-year-old girl in Hastings in 2017 and while he was 27 at the time, he told her he was only 19.
During the following year, the two developed a relationship that saw the pair exchange more than 10,000 text messages.
The relationship eventually became physical and Singh performed multiple sex acts on the girl which escalated to offences of unlawful sexual connection and rape.
In total, Singh was found guilty of 18 charges of sexual offending, including one of rape, against the teen in a jury trial heard in Napier District Court last year.
At his September 2021 sentencing, Judge Russell Collins ruled there were no mitigating factors to allow for a discounted sentence and imposed the starting point of nine years' imprisonment.
Judge Collins declined "by a very narrow margin" to impose a minimum period of imprisonment, saying Singh's time in jail would be determined by the Parole Board and that there was no doubt he would be deported once released.
Judge Russell Collins jailed Satnam Singh for nine years. Photo / NZME
Singh remains in New Zealand unlawfully as he does not hold a valid visa and has been served with a deportation notice.
In his recent appeal, defence lawyer Eric Forster relied on his client's inevitable deportation as reason for a reduction in sentence.
Forster argued a 12-month deduction should be allowed because Singh's prison term was manifestly excessive after no discount was applied for his liability for deportation.
The Crown, on the other hand, argued the sentence was proportionate to the gravity of Singh's offending, the decision, released today, stated.
It submitted that in the absence of any particular or undue personal hardship arising from his deportation he was not entitled to any credit for this factor.
Singh moved to New Zealand in 2014 for a "better life" after having completed a commerce degree in India.
He then completed a diploma in business studies in Hawke's Bay and gained full-time employment.
While on bail last year, he developed a relationship with a local woman who he now describes as his partner.
In his appeal, Forster emphasised the loss of Singh's career prospects and the benefit of many years of "hard work" establishing himself in New Zealand.
He would also have to "endure the anguish" of serving his prison term while knowing that upon his release he will be deported, Forster submitted.
But the Court of Appeal did not agree that the consequences of Singh's convictions and subsequent deportation should attract a discount.
"There is no basis to conclude he will suffer any greater hardship from the loss of the opportunity to live and work in this country than would otherwise be anticipated as a result of a person in Mr Singh's position being convicted of serious sexual offending."
Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.
- Tara Shaskey, Open Justice