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Capill sentenced to nine years in jail

Published: 11:59AM Thursday July 14, 2005 Source: One News/RNZ

Former Christian Heritage Party leader Graham Capill has been sentenced to nine years in jail for sexual offences against young girls. 

Security at the Christchurch District Court was tight for Capill, who was punched outside the court house following a previous appearance. 

In April the 46-year-old admitted indecently assaulting a young girl and last month he pleaded guilty to five new charges, including rape. The offending involved three girls under 12 years old.

The offences occurred between 1990 and 1999.

In court Capill's Lawyer said he had genuine remorse for his acts, but the judge condemned what he called Capill's depravity.

Judge Robert Kerr acknowledged Capill's early guilty pleas, but also said the number of offences and the period of more than 10 years over which they occurred were major factors. 

"Your actions were cruel and would be condemned by all right thinking members of the New Zealand community. Publicly though, through your political party, you were the epitome of virtue - that promotion concealing your ugly and sexually corrupt behaviour," Kerr said.

An email Capill sent on June 27, the day before he admitted the last charges, was also spoken about in court.

In the email Capill tried to minimise his offending by saying he had not gone the whole way and he implied that there was a degree of consent. Both the judge and the Crown prosecutor called the email nonsense and said it would count against him.

Capill's lawyer agreed that the email had backfired and said it probably shouldn't have been sent. Jonathon Eaton  also said that after looking at the victim impact report on Wednesday Capill got an understanding of how serious his offending was and he would be undergoing treatment when he went to jail.

For 13 years Capill fronted the morally conservative Christian Heritage Party and had most recently been working as a police prosecutor, presenting cases in the Christchurch District Court.

Following the sentencing Capill issued his first statement since his offending was made public. It said: "I am ashamed and greatly regret my past actions... I know many people look to me as a campaigner for moral values. I recognise the utter hypocrisy between what I said in public and did privately. I apologise unreservedly to the people of New Zealand for that. What I said publicly is what I believed and still do. I pray that God will have mercy on me and forgive me. I also pray for healing and God's help and love to surround my family who I have hurt and let down so badly."