Indian tourist sentenced in New Zealand for harassment

Wellington, Oct 15 (IANS) A court in New Zealand on Thursday sentenced in his absence an Indian tourist who was convicted of harassing a masseuse, a media report said on Thursday.

V.P. Ladhani, 63, of Mumbai was sentenced in the Queenstown District Court, stuff.co.nz news portal reported. Ladhani has been sentenced at a time when he is in India, the report said.

“An emotional harm payment provided assurance to the victim and she could put the matter behind her,” prosecuting sergeant Ian Collin was quoted as saying.

The judge ordered an emotional harm payment of 2,000 New Zealand dollars ($1,370) to the victim.

Ladhani was convicted of doing an indecent act with intent to offend on March 24, but was granted bail on health grounds and permission to return to India on a $10,000 bond payment in April.

Collin said the reality was Ladhani was not returning to New Zealand to face sentencing.

“My concern, my thoughts are aligned with the victim. I do not see the purpose in the court spending further time and considerable expense,” he added.

In his visit to New Zealand earlier this year, Ladhani went to take massage services at a hotel in Central Otago. He asked for a body-to-body massage and later for sex services.

The masseuse explained that sex was not available but Ladhani grabbed her thigh and pulled her towards him.

Since his return to India, Ladhani has been supplying medical certificate citing ill health.

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