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DPP v Murphy [2020] VCC 1570

sentence — using carriage service to groom person under 16 years of age contrary to s 474.27(1) Commonwealth Criminal Code general deterrence — s 16A(2)(ja) — general deterrence is paramount and immediate term of imprisonment is ordinarily warranted — clear public interest given this kind of offending can be difficult to detect and appears to be prevalent — children must be protected from conduct that would otherwise inappropriately sexualise them at age where they may be ill-equipped to protect themselves or respond either appropriately or in own interests — specific deterrence — s 16A(2)(j) — offender was well aware of victim’s stated age — conduct no less reprehensible because apparent victim was lure for blackmail — somewhat unusual circumstance for offence — it makes it no less serious — conduct appears predatory in terms of request to meet and arrangements to do so and communications were of relatively high frequency in two month period in which they were conducted — communication with apparent victim involved graphic and explicit content — offender desisted only when they believed they were victim of blackmail threat not realising this would then lead to police investigating offender’s illicit activity — physical condition — s 16A(2)(m) — offender suffered at young age — offender was victim of physical assault in 2017 further deteriorating level of functioning — mental condition — s 16A(2)(m) — offender’s cognitive function within mildly intellectual disability range — offenders ability to maintain degree of independent function is largely consequence of familiarity with environment — report found central factor to offending appeared opportunistic and reactive as opposed to being considered or organised — cognitive profile allows offender to appreciate right from wrong at simplistic level and capacity to make informed decisions which are truly reasoned are described as basic — offender lacks ability to fully appreciate consequences for actions on others and cannot be readily criticised for lack of victim empathy or insight — rehabilitation — s 16A(2)(n) — psychologist report raised concerns about prospects of rehabilitation — offender recommended for referral to intensive sex offender treatment program — psychologist concerned offender presents with high risk of reoffending which may be mediated by involvement or focus in alternative activities or employment — there has been both sanction and deterrence from court process — hardship to offender — offender will respond well to structure and predictability but due to poor non-verbal reasoning and likelihood of responding inappropriately offender likely will be irritating to others placing them at risk — cognitive deficits would make offender vulnerable to exploitation or manipulation and likely to experience heightened degree of psychological distress — all limbs of Verdins are engaged — delay — court processes whilst natural have meant that matter has been hanging over head for 3 years and assessment would indicate offender is particularly vulnerable to stressors — contrition — s 16A(2)(f) — while remorse is less apparent factor carries less weight in terms of assessment of low cognitive functioning — sentence — report indicates concern about ability to comply with CCO due to barriers in terms of physical health and intellectual function — offender sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment to be served by recognisance release order — s 6AAA — if not for plea of guilty offender would have been sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment with 10 months imprisonment prior to release on recognisance release order    
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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