A prominent businessman was seen out at the orchestra days before being sentenced to prison.
The rich-lister, who still has name suppression, was sentenced today by Justice Geoffrey Venning to two years and four months in prison after being found guilty by a jury of indecently assaulting three men – and twice trying to dissuade one of them from giving evidence.
Last week, the businessman was seen at an orchestral performance at the Auckland Town Hall, where 1 NEWS saw him socialising with other attendees in the intermission.
1 NEWS cameras caught him leaving the town hall just after 9.30pm.
“We’re on [the] news, we’re on [the] news,” he can be heard telling a woman accompanying him as he gets into a car.
“They’re not allowed to do that,” she replied.
When the car door closed the woman attempted to hide the businessman’s face with a performance programme.
At court today, the businessman’s lawyer, David Jones, raised various health concerns in his sentencing submissions.
“If he goes into a prison environment that will be particularly taxing for him,” he said.
“Despite the best intention of the head nurse [at the prison] ... it cannot possibly be said that someone is going to receive the equivalent medical treatment in a penal institution as one would on the outside.”
“There is no reason why that can't be managed by the Department of Corrections,” said Justice Venning.
1 NEWS later asked Jones how his client could attend the orchestra while at the same time have such serious health concerns, as outlined in court today.
"The issue raised at sentencing was that a prison sentence would be disproportionately severe given my client’s health issues and age,” he said in response.
“The submission was in keeping with the Sentencing Act. There is no suggestion that he is bedridden.”
Jones told the court many letters had been written in support of the businessman, which the judge confirmed he had read.
Justice Venning noted the businessman had no prior convictions and had made contributions to society.
Jones said an appeal had been lodged with the Court of Appeal.