Disgraced cricketer sentenced to five years in jail for serial groping

Hawkes Bay Today,
Publish Date
Fri, 21 Jun 2019, 12:52PM
Jason Trembath reacts at his sentencing on Friday. (Photo / Paul Taylor)
Jason Trembath reacts at his sentencing on Friday. (Photo / Paul Taylor)

Disgraced cricketer sentenced to five years in jail for serial groping

Hawkes Bay Today,
Publish Date
Fri, 21 Jun 2019, 12:52PM

Disgraced regional representative cricketer turned serial groper Jason Robert Trembath has been sentenced to five years and four months in prison.

The 30-year-old cricketer and businessman had played for Bay of Plenty at Hawke Cup level as well as senior cricket for the Taradale Cricket Club.

Known for his athleticism and fleet footedness on the cricket pitch, in 2017 Trembath began to use his once appreciated skills for much darker deeds.

His bizarre "grabbing spree" of women in fit wear began in September 2017 in Rotorua, and spread to Napier and Havelock North, where he offended regularly over the next few months.

Off the pitch and into the artificially lit room of the Napier District Court for sentencing, Trembath kept his head bowed before the eyes of Judge Geoff Rea on Friday morning, after pleading guilty to 11 charges of indecent assault and two charges of making and publishing an intimate visual recording.

Jason Trembath's luck finally ran out after he was sentenced on 11 charges of indecent assault relating back to 2017. Photo / File.

The public gallery was full, with some members looking visibly upset, arms crossed or hands clasped in their laps, while two court security guards stood at the door.

"With his background, his offending is almost inexplicable," defence counsel Nicola Graham said of Trembath.

"There have been various factors put forward about what caused this offending, mostly methamphetamine."

Crown prosecutor Steve Manning said all the victims were shocked and felt violated, 
with the youngest of the victims a 17-year-old. Manning read part of her impact statement to the court.

"The actions of the defendant disgust me, we have every right to be safe in our own community, to go for a run or take part in recreation activity without living in fear," he read.

"There was considerable amount of publicity and significant concerns expressed that he had not been apprehended.

"It was occurring in broad daylight and in front of witnesses. If you look at the pattern he was becoming increasingly confident," Manning said.

His bizarre "grabbing spree" of women in fit wear began in September 2017 in Rotorua, Napier and Havelock North.

A smirking Trembath grabbed a Rotorua woman from behind and "squeezed hard". That same day, he touched a woman's groin and hip in the Rotorua Redwoods.

That was only the beginning. While living in Napier he lied to his fiancee, telling her he was heading out on a boat for a fishing trip, where in fact he was stalking his next victim in his truck in Havelock North.

The woman was taking her 8-year-old son to the park ... little did she know Trembath had spotted her earlier and was now circling the park in his truck, watching her.

He saw her leave, parked down a side street, knowing she would be heading in his direction. Trembath walked up behind her, lifted her skirt and grabbed her before sprinting back to his parked truck.

He grabbed a woman on the Napier Fitzroy steps. He groped another on Napier Hill, a woman pushing her twin daughters near Burns Rd. He narrowly avoided being run over by a car after groping a woman in Taradale and sprinting across Meeanee Rd before disappearing down a dark alleyway near the fire station.

Trembath stalked two school girls in Havelock North in November 2017, waiting for them to turn a corner on Palmerston Rd before grabbing one of them from behind and sprinting back to his truck.

"Running and listening to music seems to be a common theme in this case," Judge Rea said.

Trembath faced a trial in May along with Joshua Craig Pauling, with the pair accused of raping an intoxicated woman in a Napier hotel room in 2017.

They denied the rape charges, saying they had consensual sex with her before Trembath posted an intimate picture of her on a private Facebook message group.

Trembath pleaded guilty to two charges of making and publishing intimate visual recording.

"He didn't stop there, he text it to work mates. His intention was to make fun of the circumstances the woman found herself in. This isn't just a case of taking a photograph it goes far further than that."

Graham told Judge Rea that Trembath had sat with her and read through each of the impact statements.

"It may well be that he's remorseful but it's come through late.

"During the whole period of the offending he was playing cricket and holding down a job of significant responsibility," Manning said.

Judge Rea said the woman had a degrading sexual act performed on her.

"You have photographed this, the only reason for doing it was a form of humiliation for the complainant. She was in no position to give consent," Judge Rea said.

"You immediately sent this off to a Facebook page so your mates could have a look at what you were up to.

"It's the texting that caused the most grief as you identified who the victim was. That is serious offending in itself.

"The nature of the photograph was quite frankly disgusting. You used a power position in which she had no control to have fun at her expense."

Judge Rea described the victim impact statement as "heart wrenching". "You did this to demean somebody."

"You brought a significant amount of fear and uncertainty in the community.

"You were not debilitated from your meth use. You were able to operate at a high level in the sporting field and to suggest that the use of the methamphetamine is the answer to what occurred here, seems to me to be nebulous. It was planned and premeditated."