The Sensible Sentencing Trust is a group of caring Kiwis, including victims of violent crime, who want a safer New Zealand. We are different as our passion and unwavering commitment to support victims of violent crime and stand up, speak and fight for sensible justice. Our supporters say we are professional and act with integrity and honesty.

Discounts and home detention for a sexual predator.

28 January 2019

"A violent sexual offender has been given a much lesser sentence thanks to his previous contribution to the community. Yet in the court of law a previous history of offending is not allowed to be considered, so why on earth should this man’s community work be allowed to be considered here?”

Grant David Hannis who sexually assaulted an elderly woman has received home detention. He has claimed he was mentally unwell at the time of the offending and claimed the victim consented.

Jess McVicar, spokesperson for the Sensible Sentencing Trust (SST) says he clearly shows no remorse.

“Reading the article the NZ Herald published on the 25th January shows he has made excuse after excuse. He said the impact of his actions on himself had been profound – profound does not mean he is remorseful he just feels pity for himself. He may say he has remorse but it will be more about his embarrassment in court and the related charges because of how it effects his job.” says Jess.

He is a journalism lecturer at Massey University. 

“This poor elderly woman who should be safe and protected in a rest home is attacked by this man for his own personal gratification, he denied the claims first off, then he said they were private lovers.”

Hannis' initial charge of unlawful sexual connection had to be downgraded to a charge of indecent assault by prosecutors in order for him to plead guilty so his Victim did not have to go through the trial.


Jess says, “If he was remorseful he would have admitted his crime from the get go and plead guilty, instead he hung out until he got a lesser charge presented, he was willing to let this poor little lady go through a trial for his own gain.”


Judge Harrop adopted a starting point for sentencing of two years and nine months in prison, allowing discounts for factors such as the guilty plea, remorse and the man's previous contribution to the community.


With those factors taken into account, Judge Harrop settled on a sentence of eight months home detention, 100 hours of community work, and ordered him to pay $3000 emotional harm reparation.


Jess says the discounts are being handed out like rewards.

“The discounts we have seen in sentencing over the last year are appalling, we have a trial where the judge says the offending is unbelievable and then gives discounts,: Jess says.


“This offender got discounts for previous contribution to the community. That should not have been taken into account at all! Previous history of offending is not allowed to be considered in trials so why on earth should this man’s community work be considered?”


Jess says this sentence is appalling and finds the sentencing pressures on the judges with the current government are dangerous and neglectful on the community.


“Offenders are getting discounts all over the show, yet the victim gets a life sentence. This country is becoming violent and dangerous and we are letting offenders walk free with basically an award all because the government want to hit their promised target of lowering the prison numbers.


"I’m appalled that this has to come at the expense of the community safety and I am sure most law abiding citizens will be too.”

Jess McVicar
Youth Advocate
Sensible Sentencing Trust
021 230 2391

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