The Court of Appeal today allowed appeals by the Commonwealth and Victorian Directors of Public Prosecutions against a total effective sentence of 12 years’ imprisonment and a non-parole period of 10 years imposed by the County Court for multiple child sex offences committed by the respondent. The Court found that the sentences were manifestly inadequate and resentenced him to a total effective sentence of 22 years with a non-parole period of 18 years.
The offences included online grooming, online sexual activity, production of child pornography, sexual penetration of a child under 16 and persistent sexual abuse of a child under 16. he offending extended over almost 9 years and involved 22 female victims aged between 11 and 17. The respondent manipulated many of the victims into committing vile and degrading sexual acts by persuading them to send him explicit photographs of themselves and then threatened to humiliate and embarrass them by publishing those photographs if they did not do as he demanded. The victims suffered profound long-term harm.
The Court of Appeal found that the sentences imposed by the County Court did not adequately reflect the objective gravity of the respondent’s offending and the impact on the victims. The Court held that substantially higher sentences were required to satisfy the sentencing purposes of condign punishment, denunciation, protection of the community, specific deterrence and general deterrence.
The Court said that specific deterrence was important because the respondent had previously committed similar offences and continued to offend even though he knew that he was under police investigation. General deterrence was also important because the ease with which offences of this kind are committed using the internet made it imperative that those who might be inclined to act in this way should be made aware that, if detected, they will face very lengthy terms of imprisonment.
NOTE: This summary is necessarily incomplete. It is not intended as a substitute for the Court’s reasons or to be used in any later consideration of the Court’s reasons. The only authoritative pronouncement of the Court’s reasons and conclusions is that contained in the published reasons for judgment.