Sentencing of Tattoo Artist Postponed Due to Autism Diagnosis

Peter John Roberts, a tattoo artist from the UK, was found guilty by a jury in New Plymouth District Court of sex-related charges earlier this year. (File photo)

To gather more information on his recent diagnosis of autism, the sentencing for a tattooist found guilty of a sexual offense has been delayed.

Peter John Roberts pleaded guilty to six charges of offensive attack and one amount of sexual abuse by unlawful sexual contact in February. This was after a two-week jury trial at the New Plymouth District Court.

He had denied the offenses against the two accusers, which occurred between January and July of 2020.

One woman said Roberts sexually abused her while he tattooed her, and the other said he groped her.

Andrew Laurenson, a newly assigned defense lawyer in New Plymouth district court, asked to adjourn the sentencing scheduled for Friday.

He explained to the court that a recent psychological report diagnosed Roberts with an autism spectrum disorder.

Peter Roberts will be back in the New Plymouth District Court for sentencing on June 9. (File photo)
Peter Roberts is scheduled to appear in New Plymouth District Court on the 9th of June for sentencing. (File photo)

Laurenson asked Judge Gregory Hikaka to grant the adjournment as it was in the interests of justice for all the relevant information about Roberts’ mental health to be available before any decision was made about his sentence.

Crown prosecutor Rebekah Hicklin argued against delays, saying that the case has been before the court for over two years and that the victims are anxiously awaiting the outcome.

She claimed that the court had enough information for her to proceed.

Judge Gregory Hikaka said the Crown was seeking jail for the offending, but it was “not prudent” to continue with the sentencing without all the information.

Before remanding this case back to the 9th of June for sentencing, he requested that the mental health report Laurenson had requested be prepared.

Roberts, also known as Shakey Pete, worked as a tattoo artist in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

The Crown presented evidence at the trial from three UK witnesses who testified that Roberts had abused them sexually when he lived and worked in England.

Two of the witnesses were watching Friday’s hearing online.

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