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DPP (Cth) v Winter [2023] VCC 1027

The offender was sentenced following a plea of guilty to 1 count of grooming a person to make it easier to engage in sexual activity with a child outside Australia contrary to s 272.15A(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code.

Rehabilitation: Offender pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. They have taken early responsibility for this offending. Offender also made admissions in the interview and was plainly cooperative with the police. Offender consented to the forfeiture of their phone. However, there are some statements in offender’s police interview and in their discussion with psychologist that cause some strong reservations about the extent of offender’s actual contrition. There is not fulsome contrition or remorse in this case, although offender is not revelling in the offender nor do they have no regret for it. Offender has complied with their bail conditions. They are judged to have a low risk of re-offence in the sexual domain per psychologist’s report. The matter coming to light and being brought before the court will serve to deter offender. So too will the sentence. So too any counselling or treatment offender will be required to engage in. Offender has positive prospects of rehabilitation and a low risk of reoffending in this way again.

Nature and Circumstances: Offending concerned a brief communication. It was directed by offender to the topic of children. Offender was actively grooming the other person to procure a child. It was not as spontaneous as suggested by offender’s counsel. It is not to the point that offender was not in the Philippines or intending to travel there. The seriousness of this offence is not to be gauged by the likelihood of actual physical contact between offender and a child. This was serious offending and the failure to have taken it further is not simply a matter in mitigation at all. There is no reduced culpability in this case.

Offender sentenced to 2 years imprisonment to be released immediately on recognizance of $2,000 to be of good behaviour for 3 years.
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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