Do you have a question about criminal law offences?

IT IS FREE TO ASK
OR
SELECT Y0UR STATE

Sentence Reduced for Sexual Intercourse with Minor

The Local Court failed to account for the special circumstances of the case when it fashioned an aggregate sentence. An appeal to the District Court resulted in a sentence reduction.

The accuse was convicted after pleading guilty to three counts of sexual intercourse with a person aged between ages 14 and 16, in violation of section 66C(3) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

The Local Court sentenced teh accuse to an aggregate term of 2 years (less one day) in prison with a non-parole period of 18 months. The accused took a severity appeal to the District Court.

Facts about the crime

The victim created a profile on an online dating service. She listed her age as 19 when, in fact, she was 14. The accuse communicated with the victim on Skype for a period of time. When she revealed her true age, The accuse stopped communicating with her. The victim persisted, again contacting the acusue on Skype. He told her he could not stop thinking about her and they resumed their contact on Skype.

The accuse and the victim eventually met in person and began to spend time together, sometimes in the company of the victim’s friends. As they grew more attached to each other, they confided in each other about their mutual lack of sexual experience. Eventually they agreed to have sexual intercourse. They did so on three occasions during a period of about one month. When the victim’s mother discovered her daughter’s sexual activity, she reported The accuse to the police.

Other facts relevant to sentencing

The accuse was 29. He had only been on two dates before he met the victim on the dating website. He joined the site because he was very lonely and wanted to have a serious relationship. When the victim told him her true age, he had already bonded with her and could not stop himself from seeing her again.

After his arrest, The accuse entered therapy. He stopped seeing the victim and has no desire to see her again. He now understands that a 14-year-old girl is too young to make mature decisions about intimate relationships.

The accuse has had panic attacks and has attempted suicide since his arrest. He has been diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder. That disorder exaggerates his emotional responses. He is taking medication to control the disorder. He is on a waiting list to enter sex offender rehabilitation treatment. A forensic psychiatrist considers The accused to be a low risk to reoffend.

Sentencing rationale

While it may be appropriate in some cases to make an example of an offender to deter others from committing similar crimes, it is not appropriate to make an example of someone who suffers from a mental health condition, since those individuals have a lessened degree of responsibility for their actions. The accused has no history of prior offenses, has stable employment, and is generally of good character.

The court gave the accused a 20% sentencing discount for entering an early plea. The court found that several special circumstances existed. This was the accused’ first time in custody. He is likely to suffer from incarceration more than people who do not have a mental illness. He has already suffered substantially as indicated by his suicide attempts. He is appropriate for sex offender treatment and a long parole period would allow that to be accomplished.

The Local Court structured the sentence in a way that did not take the special circumstances fully into account. While each sentence may have been appropriate, making them partially consecutive and partially concurrent resulted in a longer aggregate sentence that did not reflect the special circumstances of the case. The District Court reduced the aggregate sentence to 1 year and 8 months with a 10 month non-parole period. The accused will be released to parole after serving 10 months.

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

Ask a Question - It Is Free