NZDF sex offender's daughter hits out at legal system

The daughter of a convicted sex offender is angry he is allowed to pursue legal costs from behind bars.

The Defence Force (NZDF) has dropped its case against former airwoman Mariya Taylor, who tried to sue them for failing to protect her from the abuse Sgt Robert Roper.

One of his other victims, his daughter Tracey Thompson, says he doesn't deserve a cent.

"Roper now gets to go for court costs. Should he be allowed to do that? He's a convicted criminal. Absolutely not."

Ms Thompson says if his request for more than $50,000 is awarded, it shows flaws in our legal system.

"Is it about having that fight or about making things right? What's going to be the lesser of two evils here?"

Backlash from former service personnel and the Prime Minister led to an about-turn by the NZDF. It announced on Friday the Crown will not be seeking legal costs against Ms Taylor.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern put her foot down, telling Newshub the court case against Ms Taylor needed to be dropped.

"This case is devastating. It makes for devastating reading. It wouldn't be right to pursue those costs, so they won't be."

The court ruled earlier this year that Ms Taylor was likely abused while serving under former Air Force Sergeant Robert Roper in the 1980s. This included being locked in a tyre cage, prodded with an iron bar, and groped.

Maryia Taylor.
Maryia Taylor. Photo credit: Supplied

But Ms Taylor's case against Roper and NZDF was thrown out as too much time has passed, the statute of limitations having expired.

Roper is currently serving time behind bars for rape and sexual assault. His two daughters, Ms Thompson and her sister Karina Andrews, have been in Ms Taylor's corner since the start, and were also victims of his vile offending.

Ms Thompson thinks the NZDF has bowed to public pressure, and is pleased the case has been dropped.

"Not just the survivors of Robert Roper, but other people spoke out. There are online forums with ex-Defence members, and that's amazing. They're saying we are family, you don't get to do this to our family".

Ms Thompson hopes the about-turn leads to more people coming forward with claims of assault, not just against her father. She says the action being taken by NZDF was scaring people off.

A Givealittle page has been set up to help Mr Taylor.

If you have witnessed or experienced sexual harassment or assault and would like to speak to someone, you could call the HELP support service.

Other places to find help and support:

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