KUALA LUMPUR : Former second warrant officer Muhammad Rizalman Ismail has been sentenced to nine months' home detention in New Zealand after he was found guilty of indecently assaulting Wellington woman Tania Billingsley at her home on May 9, 2014.
The decision was made by the Wellington High Court after hearing submissions from defence lawyer Dr Donald Stevens, QC, and Crown prosecutor Grant Burston, reported NZ Herald on its online news portal, nzherald.co.nz, on Thursday.
The Crown accepted that Rizalman was eligible for home detention.
Justice David Collins in delivering his decision was reported telling Rizalman that he had "terrorised Ms Billingsley. She was a young woman, alone in her room, who was entitled to feel safe and secure in her bedroom".
"I've carefully read Ms Billingsley's victim impact statement. Plainly your actions terrified her," he said.
Justice Collins said no woman should have to endure the terrifying circumstances experienced by Billingsley when Rizalman breached the sanctity of her bedroom.
He also said that he had received a victim impact statement from Billingsley who wished for it to be suppressed, and he had granted it.
The judge accepted that Rizalman had an exemplary record of service and said his family were also "innocent victims" of his offence because of the publicity surrounding the case.
Justice Collins began his sentencing calculations at 27 months' prison, then gave discounts for previous good character, Rizalman's cooperation in returning to New Zealand, the likelihood of losing his career, time on bail, guilty plea and offer of reparation.
However, the judge did not give any time off for remorse, despite the letter of apology.
The NZ Herald also reported that the home detention sentence could not be served at the Malaysian High Commission, but would be at a property rented by the Malaysian government. Its address is suppressed.
It said after the sentence, Rizalman, the former assistant to the Malaysian defence attache at the Malaysian High Commission in New Zealand, would be deported.