Rotorua Daily Post
Tinder use lands groper back in jail
Trembath accused of using Tinder on parole to ‘groom’ women
Rotorua serial groper and former representative cricketer Jason Trembath is back behind bars after breaching his parole conditions by contacting women on Tinder.
Trembath, 32, was sentenced to five years and four months in prison in June 2019 after admitting 11 charges of indecent assault relating to random indecent groping of women.
His victims included schoolgirls and women — some with their children nearby — who were assaulted as they ran or walked the streets of Hawke’s Bay and Rotorua.
It was revealed in court the disgraced former age group Northern Districts representative and Hawke Cup player had methamphetamine, pornography and gambling addictions.
A sentence end date was set for December 31, 2023, but earlier this year the Parole Board granted him parole and he was released in May to a Rotorua property.
When released on parole, Trembath was placed on a three-month curfew and was ordered not to contact any of his victims.
Additional release conditions included not gambling and not possessing or accessing any electronic device capable of accessing the internet.
According to a new parole board decision, released to the Rotorua Daily Post this week, Trembath admitted to someone on May 13 — nine days after being released on parole — that he had bought a phone that included internet data.
This person’s affidavit to the Parole Board said Trembath was warned about doing this and told to rectify the situation immediately.
On June 15, Trembath’s probation officer received information that Trembath had created a personal profile and had recently been contacting women on Tinder.
He was recalled to prison on June 16 and the Parole Board met on July 8 to hear evidence. The grounds for his recall were undue risk and breach of release conditions.
The Parole Board heard Trembath had admitted to someone he had access to the internet at home although he said he had not used it. He also stated that he had access to various devices. He said some of those belonged to him.
The Parole Board’s decision said it was the opinion of the probation officer that the information confirmed Trembath had been accessing the internet and was using deception techniques to groom possible victims by actively seeking intimate relationships. However, Trembath's lawyer, Nicola Graham, told the Parole Board the evidence was not strong. Graham said it was a credit to Trembath he accepted the use of devices and said he asked the board to exercise its discretion by not making a final recall order.
Graham said Trembath admitted he went on to an existing Tinder account, under his own name, and engaged in a brief conversation with a person who subsequently reported to probation.
Graham said the breach was not in relation to the highrisk matters of gambling and pornography. She said it was for the purpose of accessing a social media platform to engage in conversation.
Trembath acknowledged he was perhaps naive in thinking he would quickly pick up work and have a useful purpose each day. When that did not happen and he found himself alone with nothing to occupy him he sought out somebody to talk to who did not know him, Graham said.
She argued there were measures that could be taken to ensure Trembath did not have devices and that he was open to possible residential restrictions.
She said it was important isolation and loneliness were addressed and that could be through employment approved by Community Probation.
In its decision, the Parole Board said it was concerned by the suggestion of arrogance on Trembath’s part, including “through certain comments he made in his safety plan about being able to do what he wanted and when he wanted and that he would not get caught”.
The board said they needed more information about whether there were any other accommodation options and whether improvements could be made to current accommodation without placing undue burden on others who lived there.
Issues of intervention by a psychologist and employment needed to be clearer as well, the board said.
The hearing was adjourned until August 9, when the board is expected to decide if Trembath can be released on parole again.