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Serial offender Mark David John Franklin receives second sentence of preventive detention

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Mark David John Franklin was sent to the High Court at Whangārei for sentencing.

This article deals with the issue of sexual assault and may be distressing for some readers.

A serial sexual and violent offender, whose victims include a brother and sister, has been given a second open-ended jail sentence after a judge said he would remain a risk to the community “for years to come”.

Mark David John Franklin, 36, has a history of sexual and violent crimes dating back to 2008, when he was 20 years old.

In that year, he raped a 17-year-old woman who refused to start a sexual relationship with him. He was sentenced to eight years in prison.

In 2017, he kidnapped and violently assaulted another woman, and received preventive detention – an open-ended jail term designed to protect the community from high-risk violent or sexual offenders.

The courts have been told that during the kidnapping, Franklin removed the woman’s shorts and threatened to cut her underwear off with a fishing knife. In a separate incident, he put his hands around her throat and threw her on to a bed.

However, in 2018, the Court of Appeal quashed the preventive detention sentence and imposed a finite sentence of three years and two and a half months. Franklin was released in 2020.

What the Court of Appeal judges did not know was that Franklin had also offended against the kidnapping victim’s younger brother two years before he assaulted her – crimes that did not come to light until much later.

Last year, a jury found him guilty of indecent assault and sexual violation of the brother in 2015, when the boy was 13 years old.

That offending happened less than three months after Franklin was released from prison for the 2008 offending.

Franklin was referred to the High Court at Whangārei for sentencing for the 2015 offending against the boy.

Justice Timothy Brewer imposed a preventive detention sentence.

The preventive detention sentence means Franklin will be released only when the Parole Board believes he is no longer an undue risk. He will be recallable to prison for life.

Justice Brewer imposed a minimum term of imprisonment of five years and 10 months.

He said the boy had been unable to disclose Franklin’s offending against him for years, and still suffered “significant consequences”.

“I have read his victim impact statement. He has been diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder and takes medication for ongoing anxiety and depression,” Justice Brewer said.

“You have damaged [him] significantly.”

He said the boy had tried self-medicating with alcohol and cigarettes, engaged in self-harm, and left high school as soon as he turned 16 as he was struggling with the academic load.

The judge said a psychiatrist and a psychologist had assessed Franklin as having a significant risk of committing serious offences in the future.

“You are now, and will be for years to come, a significant risk to the community.”

This was despite Franklin engaging with a number of therapeutic programmes.

Justice Brewer said that had he not imposed preventive detention, he would have sentenced Franklin to a jail term of eight years and nine months.

“I need to protect the community,” he said.

Ric Stevens spent many years working for the former New Zealand Press Association news agency, including as a political reporter at Parliament, before holding senior positions at various daily newspapers. He joined NZME’s Open Justice team in 2022 and is based in Hawke’s Bay. His writing in the crime and justice sphere is informed by four years of front-line experience as a probation officer.

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