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68-year-old Vijitha Naotunne fronted the Melbourne Magistrates Court last Friday 18 August to answer to historical child sex abuse offences dated nearly 30 years ago.

The 68-year-old is a spiritual leader of a Melbourne Buddhist temple.

Some of the alleged offending includes sexually penetrating a child under the age of 16 years and other allegations of indecent acts with a child under the age of 16 years.

Police allege that Vijitha used his position in the temple to create opportunities to commit the alleged offending upon three kids in Melbourne’s southeast spanning between 1996 through to 2004. Items used in the alleged offending included a pink eraser and ruler.

While police investigations continue, it is noted that Vijitha migrated into Australia in 1993 when he became a resident monk at a temple and in 2001 he changed temples where he ran a “very successful” Sunday school hosting over three hundred kids, according to the Dhamma Sarana Buddhist Temple website.

He was arrested and released back into the community on bail conditions while his criminal proceedings continue.

Historical Child Sex Offence of Sexual Intercourse

Historical child sex offence of sexual intercourse with a child under 16 years of age carries maximum penalties ranging from 5 years gaol to life imprisonment, depending on the child’s age.

A child under the age of 10 carries life imprisonment. A child between the age of 14 and under 16 carries 10 years gaol. A child aged at least 10 but under 14 carries up to 16 years imprisonment.

Some of these offences carry what’s called a standard non-parole period. This signifies a guidepost to the sentencing Judge as to the bare minimum period of time an offender is to spend in full time custody before being eligible for release on parole. It applies if the offence comes within the middle of the range of objective seriousness for offences of that kind.

For example, an offence against a child aged at least 10 and under 14 years carries a 7 year standard non-parole period. An offence against a child aged 14 but under 16 carries no standard non-parole period. But an offence against a child aged under 10 carries 15 years standard non-parole period.

Where circumstances of aggravation are present, the penalties are higher.

Published on 20/08/2023

AUTHOR Jimmy Singh

Mr. Jimmy Singh is the Principal Lawyer at Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia - Leading Criminal Lawyers in Sydney, Delivering Exceptional Results in all Australian Criminal Courts.

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