The Law and Penalties for Child Grooming Charges in NSW

 

43-year-old, Senior Constable Dean Perkins, stationed from Mt. Druitt Police Station was arrested and charged last Thursday afternoon with a raft of alleged child sex offences over a ten-year period from 2007 -2018 in Sydney’s West.

The senior constable, after serving as a police officer for 16 years, has been suspended from the police force.

Mr. Perkins applied for bail when he appeared via audio visual link at the Penrith Local Court last Friday.

When Local Court Magistrate Geoff Hiatt refused to grant bail, Mr. Prekins reportedly “dropped his head in his hands when the decision was handed down”.

It was reported that the Magistrate viewed the prosecution case as stronger than the defence argument. The Magistrate was also reported saying that he “shouldn’t be given preferential treatment because of his job.”

The charges the senior constable is now faces include, 2 counts of sexual intercourse with a child aged 10-14, grooming a child under 14, attempt to have sexual intercourse with a child under 10, aggravated indecent assault and aggravated act of indecency.

Over his career as a police officer, he reportedly also spent his time lecturing on cyber bullying at Schools across Sydney’s West. A website from one of those schools that he lectured at expresses that he gave “a wealth of tips and techniques to prevent any incident or harm”.

It was reported that a school in Sydney’s western suburbs, said that it was “extremely fortunate to have two police liaison officers from our Local Area Command present to our students about current information regarding cyber safety.”

It’s reported that Mr. Perkins will be making a Supreme Court bail application. His court case is next listed at the Penrith Local Court in December this year.

The Law and Penalties for Child Grooming Charges in NSW

A person who is guilty of a child grooming or procuring for unlawful sexual activity charge in NSW will face maximum penalties ranging from 10 to 15 years imprisonment, depending on the age of the child.

This is reflected is section 66EB of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

A person guilty of grooming a child will face a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment pursuant to section 66EB(3) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). The maximum penalty is up to 12 years imprisonment if the child is under 14 years old.

A person guilty of procuring, or meeting a child after grooming the child, for unlawful sexual activity will face a penalty of up to 12 years imprisonment pursuant to section 66EB(2) and 66EB(2A) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). the maximum penalty is up to 15 years imprisonment if the child under 14 years old.

A child is anyone who is under 16 years of age.

A person accused of grooming a child under section 66EB(3) of the Crimes Act in (NSW) will be guilty only if the prosecution can prove each of the following elements of the crime beyond reasonable doubt:

  1. You exposed a child to indecent material (i.e. either in person, over the phone, via the internet, computer images, videos or publications); or
  2. You provided a child with an intoxicating substance (i.e. which affects the child’s senses or understanding); and
  3. You intended to expose the child to that material (or provide an intoxicating substance) in order to make it easier to use the child for unlawful sexual activity; and
  4. The child was under 16 years at the time of doing this.

Further, a person accused of meeting a child after grooming the child under section 66EB(2A) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) will be guilty only if the prosecution can prove each of the following elements of the crime:

  1. You exposed a child to indecent material (i.e. either in person, over the phone, via the internet, computer images, videos or publications); and
  2. After doing this, you intentionally met (or travelled to meet) the child with the intention to using the child for unlawful sexual activity; and
  3. The child was under 16 years at the time of doing this.

A person accused of procuring a child charge under section 66EB(2) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) will be guilty only if the prosecution can prove each of the following elements of the crimes:

  1. You intentionally procured (i.e. obtained or caused) a child for unlawful sexual activity; and
  2. The child was under 16 years of age at the time of doing this.

Importantly, a child can also include to mean a person who pretends to be a child provided that the accused person believes the person was a child under 16.

The law regards children as being incapable of consenting which means that consent from the child is not a defence under the law.

What are the Defences to a Charge of Grooming, Procuring or Meeting a Child for Unlawful Sexual Activity?

A charge of grooming, procuring or meeting a child for unlawful sexual activity can be dismissed if any one of the following defences apply:

  1. The accused person held an honest belief that the alleged victim was at least 16 years old. This defence can only succeed if the court accepts that the belief of the accused was a reasonably held belief in the circumstances. If the belief is found to be unreasonable, then this defence will fail.
  2. For a charge of procuring a child. An accused will be not guilty if he/she did not have an intention to procure the child for unlawful sexual activity.
  3. The accused person was incapable of forming the requisite intention to procure a child (or incapable of voluntarily behaving in the way alleged) by reason of involuntarily consuming an intoxicating substance.
  4. The accused person has been wrongly identified as the perpetrator.

In circumstances where a person commits any of these offences towards a child, the law considers it an aggravating feature- which will normally increase the penalty or sentence, if the offender was in a position of authority or trust at the time of the offending.

Have any questions arising from this blog? Our team appear in all courts.

We are available 24/7 to answer your questions and have experienced criminal lawyers in Penrith, Blacktown, Newcastle and Wollongong.

About Jimmy Singh

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

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