A common misconception in the realm of sexual assault is that sexual offenders are strangers. Only 11.1 per cent of sexual offenders to children under the age of 15 are strangers, according to an Australian Bureau of Statistics survey. The majority of offenders, the survey found, are male relatives.
In a recent case, a man was convicted of four counts of sexual assault on his daughter, who was 14 at the time of offence. He now seeks leave to appeal on the grounds that the sentence was manifestly excessive.
All four counts on which the man was found guilty happened on December 26, 2014, and took place at Branxton in the State of New South Wales. The counts are summarised as follows:
The 14-year-old child is the man’s biological daughter. He had apparently lured the child to be alone with him by asking her if she wanted a massage before committing the crimes. All four counts happened during the period that he disguised as giving her a massage.
The following day the child became upset and reported the behaviour to her mother, and the police were contacted that evening. The man was arrested on June 22, 2015.
On May 24, 2017, the father was sentenced to nine years and six months of imprisonment with six years and two months of non-parole for the above offences.
On the grounds that the sentence was manifestly excessive, the man and his counsel submitted the appeal. The counsel argued that the four counts of appeal comprised only one episode that was a short period of time and should not be treated as four different episodes.
In addition, the argument was made that the sentence the applicant received was usually reserved for someone who had committed sexual crimes over a long period of time. The applicant’s counsel also pointed to the finding from the original trial that the applicant had a good chance of rehabilitation, and made the statement that if the court were to re-sentence the applicant, that his sentence would be reduced by a third.
The judge ruled that the leave to appeal was granted, but the appeal against the sentence was dismissed.
If you or a family members is a victim of sexual assault or child abuse, get in touch with our team at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers to discuss your options.