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DPP (Cth) v Halbisch [2021] NSWDC 306

The offender was sentenced following a plea of guilty to 1 count of using a carriage service to transmit communications to the recipient, a person under the age of 16, with the intention of procuring the recipient to engage in sexual activity with them contrary to s 474.26(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code. Additional offence taken into account pursuant to s 16BA.  

Nature and Circumstances: The victim was 7 years of age at the time of offending. Nothing indicates that the offender was aware of the precise age of the child. However, victim sent photographs of her bed and trampoline. It must have been apparent to the offender that he was communicating with a young child. The age difference between offender and victim is almost 20 years. The communications relevant to the offence occurred over a period of about 20 minutes but included persistent requests by the offender including instructions as to what to do. The requests were sexually explicit. Procuring matter is at mid-range of seriousness but in the lower half of the mid-range.  

Victim of Offence: Commonwealth relied on victim’s mother’s statement because of young age of victim. Although victim was able to give own statement, it is relevant where the victim is so young to have a parent or guardian also indicate the harm that is caused by the offending. Clearly offending has had long lasting, significant and very adverse effect on the victim. Victim has Autism Spectrum Disorder, but the offender was not aware of that. Victim is hyper vigilant since offending. Noting absence of any medical or mental health professional’s report, there is little further to be made of contents of victim impact statements.  

Offender sentenced to 3 years and 9 months imprisonment with a 2 year and 3-month non-parole period.
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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