The case of a young Auckland man who had sex with a 14-year-old Dunedin girl he met through an online dating site highlights the dangers of teenagers communicating through the internet, a judge says.The facts of the case would reflect the worst concerns of many parents, Dunedin District Court Judge Stephen Coyle said when sentencing 22-year-old Nikhil Batra for having unlawful sexual connection with the teenager on July 21.
She and Batra communicated over time and developed a relationship and an attraction.
In July, Batra travelled to Dunedin but, when he met the girl, he realised she did not look 18.
When he suggested she might have been 16, she told him she was only 14.
Knowing that, the defendant nevertheless hired a motel room, invited the girl to stay and had sex with her, the judge said.
Her parents found her at the motel and called the police.
Batra immediately acknowledged what had happened, but he explained he loved the girl and age did not matter.
Counsel Anne Stevens said that showed how naive the defendant was.
The fact English was not his first language might have created some difficulties for his understanding of the situation, she said.
Crown counsel Richard Smith said it was accepted there had been no plan to coerce the girl and there was no element of grooming.