In a remarkable admission today, Justice Minister Andrew Little has dismissed an indecent assault on a Corrections Officer as ‘not violent’, National’s Justice Spokesperson Mark Mitchell says.

“When asked to provide an example of a non-violent offence, Mr Little referenced an indecent assault case in 2016 where a prisoner with a long rap sheet grabbed a female Corrections Officer’s bottom.

“It was astonishing to hear him say that he does not consider this and other indecent assaults to be violent offences.

“The sentencing note on this particular case outlines the seriousness of the offending – ‘Standing behind the Corrections officer, you grabbed her right buttock, squeezed it quite hard, and held on for about one to two seconds.’

“It beggars belief that the Justice Minister could so callously dismiss this as non-violent.

“He even attempted to minimise the offence by describing it as ‘pinching’ and suggested that it shouldn’t have even been categorised as an indecent assault.

“It completely undermines the victim of this assault, who said she felt angry, frustrated and totally degraded by the offending, and had been left feeling vulnerable and uneasy when performing her work duties.

“For a Government that claims to pride itself on tackling issues of sexual violence, Mr Little has seriously dented its credentials. His Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Domestic and Sexual Violence Jan Logie must publicly condemn his comments.

“This is just another example of the Ardern-Peters Government going soft on crime and not protecting victims.”

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