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Peter Stewart Released After Serving 1/3 Of Sentence

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, April 24 NZPA - A prominent Christchurch businessman who was jailed last year for the historic rape of a young girl will be released having served a third of his sentence.

Peter Maxwell Stewart, 63, son of PDL founder Sir Robertson Stewart and husband of New Zealand Fashion Week owner Pieter Stewart, was sentenced to 3-1/2 years in prison in February 2008 after being found guilty of five charges of indecency, one of sodomy and one of rape.

His offending took place from 1968 to 1974 when Stewart was in his 20s and the victim was aged eight to 14 years.

Following the trial Stewart and his family maintained his innocence, which led to clashes with his victim's family and supporters, with both sides complaining of harassment.

His family said in December they had suffered "countless slurs" by the victim's family, who in turn said Stewart should accept the guilty verdicts.

The victim herself told the parole board on Monday she believed Stewart should be held until he was prepared to acknowledge his offending.

The board, however, said Stewart amassed no other convictions over the 35 years since his offending and had been "a model prisoner".

Additionally, two psychological assessments deemed him a low risk of reoffending against children.

As such, the board was required by the Parole Act to approve his release on the conditions he did not have any unsupervised contact with children aged under 16 and did not approach the victim.

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