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DPP v Mokdissi [2021] VCC 440

The offender was charged following pleas of guilty to 15 counts of using a carriage service for sexual activity with a person under 16 years of age, contrary to s 474.25A(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code, 1 count of using a carriage service to groom a person believed to be under 16 years of age for sexual activity contrary to s 474.27(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code and 3 counts of using a carriage service to transmit indecent communication to a person under 16 years contrary to s 474.27A(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code. Additional State offences were taken into account. Additional Commonwealth offences were taken into account under s 16BA.  

Nature and Circumstances: Offending is objectively very serious. There is a major public interest in protecting children from sexual exploitation and abuse. Offending comprised a calculated course of manipulation and exploitation of vulnerable children for own sexual gratification. The existence of cyber space provides a place where children can be manipulated into inappropriate sexual behaviours beyond their maturity. While there are marginal differences in precise detail of factual circumstances in the offences for sexual activity with a person under 16, the gravity of offending is essentially the same. Production of child abuse material is serious because recordings can survive long after the live sexual activity itself, have the potential to be traded and contribute to child pornography market, and may provide ongoing harm to a victim by potential exposure to others. Volume of material of child abuse material can be considered as being at low range of culpability. Whilst absence of significant material in high levels of categorisation does not minimise the objective gravity of possession, the assessment of the material is to be considered in the context of the offending as a whole. Offender’s manipulation in grooming offence extended to telling victim that they wanted to kiss her and how they would kiss her. There is no presumption of harm as victim was undercover police operative, but the offending is not in itself any less serious because of offender’s belief in whom they were communicating with.  

Specific Deterrence: Notwithstanding positive personal characteristics, specific deterrence is not eliminated but may be moderated. Moral culpability is high. Offender is well educated, had benefit of a close, loving and supporting family and knew what they were doing was wrong and could destroy their life. When offender was challenged on one occasion by a child, offender said they did not care. Whilst period of offending was relatively short, it occurred frequently and persistently. Offender worked at a primary school and undoubtedly would have been well aware of the vulnerability of children and the need to protect them, including from themselves.  

Offender sentenced to 5 years and 6 months imprisonment with a 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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