What are the Penalties for Having Sex with an Under Age Person?

 

It is reported that in May 2017 at about 7:40am in the Central Coast of NSW, a 33-year old man has walked over to a 12-year old child, dragged her into bushland, tied her to a tree and then sexually assaulted her.

The man who was wearing camouflage clothing at the time, had attacked the girl as she was walking to school by herself, unaccompanied, alongside bushland.

The court was told that the man was “wearing a full body camouflage hunting outfit and raising a tree branch about 75cm long and about 6cm wide towards her”.

It is reported that he suddenly appeared from nearby bushes when she looked behind.

The court was told that, “she was so shocked that she thought she might collapse.. she said, stop, stop, stop” in an effort to stop him from hitting her with a stick.

It is reported that the man placed her in a headlock in efforts to stop her from escaping.

“he forced her into the bush, saying ‘Shh, don’t scream. Don’t scream or I’ll have to hurt you”.

The court was further told that the man was holding a knife in his hand, tied her feet and hands and then tied her to a tree before raping her for close to an hour.

After he had released her, the girl ran to school.

During the offending period, the court was told that the man had failed to reply to numerous text messages and phone calls made from his colleagues. He then arrived to work at around 9:30am when he told colleagues that he was involved in a road rage, chased a driver into bushland before falling down.

Before attacking the 12-year old girl, the man had sent text messages to work colleagues to inform them that he was going to be in late to work that morning.

“I’m running a bit late boys, I’ll be there asap”.

The court has made a suppression order to ban any publication that could cause the victim’s identity to be disclosed. As a result, the 33-year old man cannot be named.

He attended the Gosford District Court yesterday before Her Honour Judge Tanya Bright. It is reported that the man has now pleaded guilty to ten charges, which include sexual assault of the 12-year old girl, grooming, and the sexual abuse of another girl aged 11.

What are the Penalties for Raping a Child in NSW?

The penalties for sexual assault involving an under-age victim vary on the age of the victim in NSW.

Section 66A and 66C Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) outlines this in detail.

Consent by a person aged under 16-years is not a defence to a charge of sexual assault of a child in NSW. The law considers those who are under-age as incapable of giving informed consent to sexual intercourse.

Penalty for Having Sexual Intercourse with Child Aged Between 14 but Less Than 16

The maximum penalty for having sexual intercourse with someone aged between 14, and less than 16 is imprisonment of 10-years under section 66C(3) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

This offence carries a higher penalty if committed in circumstances of aggravation, namely, imprisonment of 12-years. In those circumstances it also carries a 5-years standard non-parole period. Which means, if the sentencing Judge considers the offenders sexual assault as falling in the mid-range of objective seriousness, the Judge can impose a minimum 5-years behind bars before he/she is eligible for release on parole. (section 66C(4) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)).

Penalty for Having Sexual Intercourse with Child Aged Between 10 but Less Than 14

The maximum penalty for having sexual intercourse with someone aged between 10, and less than 14 is 16-years imprisonment under section 66C(1) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

This carries a 7-years standard non-parole period. This means that where the Judge considers the particular offence to fall in the middle range of objective criminality, the offender is to spend a minimum period of 7-years behind bars before being eligible for release back into the community on parole.

However, this standard non-parole period is only to be used as a guide. It is not a mandatory requirement.

The penalty is higher if this offence is committed in circumstances of aggravation under section 66C(2) of up to 20-years imprisonment with a standard non-parole period of 9-years in jail.

Penalty for Having Sexual Intercourse with Child Aged Under 10

The maximum penalty for having sexual intercourse with someone under the age of 10 in NSW is life imprisonment under section 66A Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

This offence is considered a standard non-parole period offence. This means that it carries a minimum period of 15-years imprisonment before an offender is to be eligible for release on parole if the particular offence falls in the middle of the range of objective seriousness.

The standard non-parole period is used only as a guide for the sentencing Judge, not a mandatory requirement to be imposed.

What is ‘Circumstances of Aggravation’?

Circumstances of aggravation includes any one or more of the following circumstances under section 66C(5) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW):

  • The offender had broken and entered the house with the intention of committing the sexual assault or any other type of crime carrying a penalty of up to 5-years or more.
  • The offender deprived the victim of his/her liberty at the time, before or after the sexual assault.
  • The victim was intoxicated which the offender took advantage of.
  • The victim has a cognitive impairment, or serious physical disability, or was under the offender’s authority at the time of the sexual assault.
  • Some else was also in company of the offender and victim at the time of the sexual assault.
  • The offender threatened to cause actual bodily harm to the victim or other person nearby by means of an offensive weapon or instrument.
  • The offender caused actual bodily harm or the victim or other person nearby, either intentionally or recklessly at the time of the sexual assault, prior to or after it.

Click here for an outline of the defences to charges involving under-age sex.

 

Urgent advice is critical if facing child sex charges.

As Sydney’s leading criminal defence lawyers, we are available 24/7 and provide a free first consultation.

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