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DPP v Beck [2020] VCC 1590

sentence — using carriage service to transmit indecent communications to a child under 16 — additional State offences — nature and circumstances — s 16A(2)(a) — offender was friend of father of the victim — offender was 22 years older than victim befriended her and abused her trust — offending involved level of pre-planning — offender took victim to remote location to offend against her and had a condom at the ready — offending can be characterised as predatory — offender attended victim’s school and gave her mobile phone in order to communicate secretly — offender sent victim multiple highly sexualised messages and gratuitous images of exposed penis — offending is serious and moral culpability is high — character — offender’s ex-partner wrote character reference — offender has battled with kidney disease but has struggled with depression — mental condition — s 16A(2)(m) — offender diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder — no submission made that Verdins principle applied — contrition — s 16A(2)(f) — offender told psychologist victim had pursued them and they struggled to take greater responsibility for behaviour — offender did recognise behaviour was wrong and was grappling with feelings of shame — psychologist reports offender gratified by attention of victim and engaged in cognitive distortions which allowed them to view victim as equal and consenting partner — psychologist report found offender fell into low risk category for sexual recidivism and appeared to show good prospects for rehabilitation — physical condition — s16A(2)(m) — COVID-19 — offender suffers end-stage kidney disease — condition will not improve unless offender receives another successful kidney transplant — offender requires lengthy dialysis sessions to control symptoms and keep them alive — offender’s doctor reports that offender is reliant on treatment to keep them alive but with dialysis had some quality of life — offender’s risk of catching disease no greater than average person but if infected risk of becoming seriously ill was greater — although kidney disease requires extensive hours on dialysis and can be managed in custodial setting — COVID-19 is complicating issue — if offender was imprisoned long hours required to spend at hospital for dialysis would subject offender to quarantine transfer — Corrections Victoria unable to say if restrictions would be lifted when Victoria moves to stage 3 — any sentence must be heavily moderated because of ill health and extensive hours of dialysis and the context of COVID-19 — general deterrence — s 16A(2)(ja) — law imposes absolute prohibition on sexual contact with children to protect them from harmful premature sexual activity — adults who transgress prohibition must expect stern punishment — offender sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment with 10 month non-parole period for State offences — offender sentenced to 9 months’ imprisonment with 2 month non-parole period for Commonwealth offences to commence on expiration of non-parole period for state offences — s 6AAA — but for plea of guilty global sentence imposed would have been 5 years’ with 3 year 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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