A man who has a record of committing indecent acts in public was caught fiddling with himself in a telephone box a day after being released from prison.
His lawyer said it was inevitable he would end up offending so soon, as he had never had proper treatment to help him cope.
Steven Karu, 47, was released from jail on March 30, having served time for using indecent language with intent to offend.
But the Palmerston North District Court heard on Thursday, he was back to his indecent ways on March 31.
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He was spotted at 9pm in a glass telephone box on Coleman Mall, Palmerston North.
Members of the public saw him touching his penis while talking on the phone.
He continued these acts until police arrived.
Karu denied the offending at the time, saying he might have been trying to get his wallet.
Karu has a long history of indecent offending, ranging from masturbating on buses, in ambulances and in the windows of businesses, to making lewd comments and breathing heavily down the phone to people on the Depression Helpline.
Defence lawyer Mark Alderdice said Karu, who pleaded guilty to a charge of committing an indecent act, was expected to reoffend upon release from prison.
He had requested a Maori probation officer and counsellor before, but not been granted that, so that could be a good option to take, Alderdice said.
“We need to see if there is another approach we can take, because things haven’t worked.”
Judge Jim Large agreed, saying something had to be done.
“Something, or, rather, someone has to help this man. Otherwise, he will be in and out of prison.
“The city needs to be protected, as this behaviour cannot continue.”
Karu was kept in custody until May for sentencing.