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It is reported that a Perth father has pleaded guilty after making admissions to the sexual abuse of young girls aged from five to nine years.
The 45-year-old father faced 38-charges, which included indecent recording of a child, possessing child exploitation material and sexually penetrating a child.
The District Court was told that a couple of the victims were actually his relatives while the remainder of the two were his daughter’s friends aged between 5-8.
The prosecutor told the court that he committed the acts while the girls were sleeping. An on occasions, the abuse went on for up to 3 hours.
Investigators were reportedly told that one of the girls pretended to continue sleeping during the abuse because she was “so scared she did not want him to know she was awake”.
The court was informed that the Perth father has also video recorded, including photos of the abuse involving himself, which were saved into storage devices electronically.
Found reportedly discovered up to 2 million images and videos of child pornography.
On other occasions, the court heard, that the man while on playdates with his daughter, took indecent videos and images of 3 other girls albeit no physical touching was involved.
It was later reported that some of the victim’s parents had noticed that the man was “quite persistent” in organising the playdates and sleepovers, which the prosecutor suggested was conduct which reflected a degree of planning by creating opportunities to commit abuse on the victims.
The Court was told that the man had taken naked images and videos of the victims while showering and bathing in his home.
The abuse was reportedly first brought to the attention of two of the victims’ mothers after the girls had disclosed it to them. This then prompted a police investigation and search of the man’s house.
During the search, police discovered electronic devices which were later analysed, revealing about 2 million photos and video clips of child exploitation material. This quantity of this material was described by the prosecutor as “unprecedented” in Western Australia.
Further investigations also revealed that the man had also traded the child pornography photos online.
The Court Outcome
The District Court of Western Australia sentenced the Perth father to 10-years imprisonment for the child abuse which occurred between August 2012 to December 2016.
The WA District Court Judge Stephen Lemonis was reported saying, “Your conduct in taking advantage of and abusing these young children is reprehensible”.
“These offences are not reflective of you having given way to an impulse on one occasion or occasions.”
“Rather, you’ve chosen repeatedly to commit serious offences and created opportunities to do so.”
The Judge imposed an 8-year non-parole period representing the minimum period he is required to spend behind bars before being eligible for release on parole back into the community.
The Law on the Sexual Abuse of Children in NSW
Section 66A Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) prohibits anyone from having sexual intercourse with someone who is aged under 10-years of age. It imposes a maximum penalty of up to life imprisonment.
While this offence carries a life imprisonment sentence, a court may impose a standard non-parole period of imprisonment of 15-years-representing the period of time required to be spent behind bars before eligibility for parole.
The 15-years standard non-parole period is not mandatory and is used for a Judge to consider as a yardstick if the case is categorised as one fitting in the mid-range of objective seriousness.
Factors considered in assessing the objective seriousness include the length of offending, age of victim, extent of any violence and pre-meditation involved.
Section 66C(1) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) prohibits anyone from having sexual intercourse with someone who is aged between 10 and under 14. Anyone guilty of this will face a penalty of up to 16-years imprisonment.
If a Judge considers the offender’s case as falling in the mid-range of objective seriousness, the Judge may then impose a 7-year standard non-parole period for this offence. Even in that event, the Judge will use this as a guide, and not a mandatory requirement to impose.
However, if a person commits this offence where there are present any of or more of the following ‘circumstances of aggravation’ under section 66C(5), the penalty he/she will face is up to 20-years imprisonment with a nine-years standard non-parole period where the offence is categorised as in the mid-range of objective seriousness:
- The victim was under the offender’s authority
- The victim had a cognitive impairment or serious disability, or intoxicated
- The victim was deprived of his/her liberty
- During the offence against the victim, there was someone else present
- Actual bodily harm was occasioned to the victim
- Actual bodily harm was threatened to the victim with the use of an offensive weapon or instrument
Section 66C(3) prohibits anyone from having sexual intercourse with someone who is aged between 14 and under 16. It imposes a maximum penalty of up to 10-years imprisonment.
Where an accused person faces a charge of sexual intercourse with a child aged between 14 – 16 years, he/she will not be guilty of the offence if he/she held an honest and reasonable belief that the alleged victim was 16-years of age or older.
See our previous blog on sexual intercourse without consent for an outline of what is sexual intercourse under the law.
If you wish to discuss this topic more, contact our specialist Sydney criminal law firm today to arrange a free first appointment with a lawyer who specialises in sexual assault trials.