What are the Penalties for Having Sex with a Child?

 

It is reported that 31-year-old Ruecha Tokputza has been charged with child sexual offences.

Tokputza is guilty of sexually violating 13 children, including thirteen babies and boys over an offending period of over 6 years.

The sexual assaults have been described by the Senior Counsel prosecutor Heath Barklay as so serious and severe that he could not find a child sexual offence case as severe as this one.

Mr. Barklay reportedly said that it was “hard to think of more serious offending” than what this man has done.

His offending conduct included the sexual abuse and grooming of children in Adelaide and Bangkok.

After facing fifty-one charges involving aggravated indecent assault (sexual touching) and sexual intercourse with children under 14-years-of-age, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced.

Some of his shocking conduct included filming his victims, getting and even producing child exploitation materials outside Australia. Police found twelve thousand five hundred images and six hundred and fifty films of children being exploited.

In order to provide some perspective and comparison as to the severity of this offence, the prosecutor compared Tokputza’s child sexual offending to that of the notorious Paedophile Shannon McCoole who was handed a sentence of 35-years jail in two thousand and fifteen for the sexual abuse of 7 children and babies.

McCoole had sexually abused children and babies in his care before putting the images of his crimes for paedophiles to view on the internet.

McCoole was described as a “monster who deserves the death penalty”. However, McCoole’s sexual offending occurred for just over 3-years. He was sentenced on the basis that he at least wrote an apology and expressed remorse for his behaviour.

In comparison to that, Tokputza committed child sex offences on 51 occasions involving 13 children for over 6-years with no expression of remorse. The offences occurred from June 2011 to January 2018 when he was finally arrested.

Reportedly, the court was told that Tokputza said to a man, I can “hook you up” in Bangkok.

Notwithstanding these crimes, Tokputza asked Judge Liesl Chapman to show leniency when imposing a sentence.

Tokputza acknowledged that several life sentences are formed after accumulating sentences for each of the offences here. However, requested that he be given the hope of at least being released.

 

The Sentence

After describing Tokputza as a “child’s worst nightmare”, a menace to society and “every parents horror”, Judge Liesl Chapman imposed a sentenced of imprisonment of 40-years and 3-months. This includes a 28-year non-parole period which represents the period Tokputza is required to remain being bars before being eligible for release on parole for the remainder of the sentence.

As this sentence was being given in court, Tokputza expressed and showed no emotion.

Judge Chapman was reported saying, “Unfortunately, there are many like you out there, fortunately you have been caught”.

“There is no doubt also you had a terrible start to life because you were sexually abused when you were so young and then again when you were older. The abuse went on for years.”

“So much so it was normalised in your mind and you confused it with love. But that does not excuse what you have done”

“Your ability to experience sexual arousal with those young, innocent and trusting boys, over and over again is deeply disturbing.”

 

Interesting Facts

Most offenders who sexually abuse children are males.

In addition, 74% of about 19% of twenty-eight thousand cases were female victims.

There is also an over-representation of Indigenous Australian families in child abuse statistics.

1.1 per one thousand children aged up to 16 are sexually abused in Australia. That rate is 2.0 per one thousand children for Indigenous Australian families.

What are the Penalties Having Sex with a Child in NSW?

Sexual Intercourse with Child Under 10

In NSW, anyone guilty of committing the act of sexual intercourse with a child aged under 10 will face a maximum penalty of imprisonment for life (section 66A Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)).

The law here also allows a sentencing Judge to consider imposing a 15-years non-parole period of imprisonment as the standard non-parole period for this offence. This standard non-parole period is the amount of time an offender is required to spend in prison before being eligible for release on parole to serve the rest of the sentence.

The standard non-parole period is not compulsory for a Judge to apply. It is only a guide and can come into effect for the Judge to consider imposing if the offence falls in the middle of the range of objective criminality for this type of offence.

The maximum penalties are reserved for the most serious of offenders.

Sexual Intercourse with Child from 10 to 16

In NSW, anyone guilty of committing the act of sexual intercourse with a child aged 10, but under 14 will face a maximum penalty of imprisonment of 16-years (section 66C(1) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)).

The law here allows a sentencing Judge to consider imposing a 7-year standard non-parole period if the offence falls in the middle range of objective seriousness for this kind of offence.

If an offender commits this offence in any of the following circumstances of aggravation, the maximum penalty is 20-years jail with a 9-year standard non-parole period if the offending fits within the middle-range od objective seriousness for this kind of offence (section 66C(5) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)):

  • Actual bodily harm was caused to the victim; or
  • Actual bodily harm was threatened to the victim with the use of an offensive instrument or weapon; or
  • There was another person present at the time; or
  • The child victim was intoxicated or had a cognitive impairment or other serious physical disability or was under the offender’s authority; or
  • The victim’s liberty was deprived by the offender; or
  • The victim’s homes was broken into by the offender with the intent to commit the sexual assault or any other criminal offence (if the criminal offence carries a maximum penalty of at least 5-years jail).

For a charge of sexual intercourse, it is a defence if the prosecution fails to prove that your conduct involved sexual connection with penetration to the victim’s genitalia, anus or any introduction of a penis or object into the victim’s mouth, anus, vagina (or cunnilingus).

It is also a defence if the alleged conduct was for legitimate medical reasons.

In the case of a charge of sexual intercourse with a person between 10 and under 16 years of age, it is a defence to this charge if you honestly but mistakenly believed that the victim was at least 16 at the time of the sexual intercourse. This can only succeed if your belief was reasonably held in the circumstances.

As Sydney’s leading child sexual assault lawyers, we appear in all courts across.

Contact us on our hotline 24/7 (02) 8606 2218.

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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