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DPP v Derby [2021] VCC 386

The offender was sentenced following a plea of guilty to 1 count of using a carriage service to procure a person believed to be under 16 years of age contrary to s 474.26(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code, 1 count of possessing or controlling child abuse material obtained or accessed using a carriage service contrary to s 474.22A(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code and 1 count of using a carriage service to access child abuse material contrary to s 474.22(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code. Offender sentenced for additional State offences. Additional offences taken into account pursuant to s 16BA.  

Mental Condition: Offender was subject to emotionally abusive behaviour from mother and 3 sexual assaults perpetrated on them by their sister. Offender has long suffered from poor mental health, though was only diagnosed with depression 5 years ago. Since arrest mental health has further deteriorated. Offender has experienced suicidal thoughts and been admitted to hospital.  

Nature and Circumstances: Offence was committed against an actual 13 year old victim until the intervention of the complainant’s parents. Child involved was also the daughter of people who believed they knew and could trust the offender. Case involves a gross breach of trust. Methods offender engaged to pursue aim of procuring caused significant damage in and of themselves. Offender knew actions would cause harm to the victim. Offender was in possession of a significant amount of child exploitation material. Offender engaged in offending against a child that was persistent in nature and disturbing in content. Offending must also be viewed in context of possession of child exploitation materials, evidence that offender accessed similar materials as far back as 2018, and admission to police that they may have, but couldn’t recall, sending similar material to other children.  

Rehabilitation: Offender’s paraphilia sexual interests together with entrenched nature of online activities are deeply concerning. Offending that offender has engaged in is one which requires little infrastructure, is difficult to detect and can be committed from anywhere where offender has access to a device and internet. There are few structural impediments that can be created to prevent offending in a similar way in the future beyond the professional treatment offender is receiving. Offender has done all that could reasonably be hoped of them in relation to engagement with appropriate assessment and treatment. Prospects of rehabilitation will depend on capacity to access appropriate treatment, offender’s continued willingness to engage in that treatment and then for that treatment to be successful. Some caution in relation to prospects of rehabilitation is warranted.  

Offender sentenced to 3 years and 6 months imprisonment with a 2 year and 6 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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