A former Hawke's Bay man with almost 80 years without a criminal conviction has accepted the punishment for indecent assaults on two young girls almost half a century ago, despite claiming no memory of the incidents.
Appearing in Napier District Court on Friday, Michael John Carroll, now of Masterton and still working as a vinyl layer, was sentenced to the maximum-available community detention sentence of six months, including supervision and a curfew confining him to home between 7pm and 7am.
Judge Bridget Mackintosh said Carroll didn't appear to have dementia or other issues which might affect his recall. He had pleaded guilty to three charges, had no previous convictions, and was not assessed as a high risk of further offending.
The girls were both aged under 10 years and Carroll entered their room while staying the night as a friend of the parents when the offences happened in Havelock North in the early 1970s.
One of the girls told the parents in the morning and Carroll was challenged, and after saying he was drunk at the time was no longer welcome.
When questioned by police after the allegations resurfaced in 2018, Carroll recalled being at the house but denied touching the girls.
Carroll had since heard of the impact on a victim, who had told a court his "20 minutes of perverse pleasure" had caused her "40 years of pain".
Judge Mackintosh told Carroll the while he "didn't seem to have much memory of this time of your life" he had been prepared to "accept the consequences and take the victims at their word".
The "embarrassment" in the community and the community detention were appropriate in the circumstances, she said.