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Aboud v The Queen [2021] NSWCCA 77

The offender was sentenced following pleas of guilty to 1 count of using a carriage service to menace, harass or offend contrary to s 474.1791) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code, 1 count of using a carriage service to groom a person under the age of 16 years for sexual activity contrary to s 474.27(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code, 1 count of using a carriage service to procure a person under the age of 16 years for sexual activity contrary to s 474.26(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code. Original sentence imposed 7 years imprisonment with a 5 year and 3 month non-parole period. The offender appealed on the basis that the sentencing judge erred in the manner in which they dealt with the offender’s pleas of guilty.  

Guilty Plea: Offender was sentenced prior to the decision in Xiao. There is no dispute that offender’s pleas were entered at the earliest possible opportunity. Sentencing judge did not specify the discount they applied but there is nothing to suggest that the discount should have been anything less than 25%. In circumstances where the sentencing judge made no reference to the utilitarian value of the plea, the only available conclusion is that the sentencing judge did not take that matter into account.  

Delay: Delay between offender’s interview with police and bringing of charges was approximately four years. While reasons for delay are entirely unexplained, it was not the fault of the offender. There is no evidence of any stress or interruption in rehabilitation as consequence of delay. Relevance in the present case is that offender did not offend during that four year period.  
Nature and Circumstances: Where there is a multiplicity of offences, it is important that the task of assessing the nature and circumstances of the offending is not obscured by a broad brush approach. The offending was consistent, premediated, disturbingly predatory and unequivocally manipulative. It had the clear potential to do great damage to the victims. Courts have a responsibility to reflect all of those factors by imposing sentences of appropriate severity. Objective seriousness of offending is such that no lesser sentence is warranted. The non-parole period imposed reflects the minimum period of actual incarceration which is warranted having regard to all the circumstances of the case.  

Leave to appeal granted. Appeal dismissed.
The CSD acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as First Australians and recognises their culture, history, diversity and their deep connection to the land. We acknowledge that we are on the land of the traditional owners and pay respects to Elders past and present.

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