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R v Amson [2021] NSWDC 280

The offender was sentenced following a plea of guilty to using a carriage service to groom a person they believed to be under 16 years of age contrary to s 474.27(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code.  

Nature and Circumstances: Offence may be less objectively serious when the communication is to a fictitious person than a child. Contact was initiated by the police and not offender’s actively messaging, communicating or attempting to befriend persons. The circumstances where the undercover police operative initiated contact, in some not all instances or engaged in manifestly flirtatious conduct, effectively bringing out offender’s latest sexual interest in children, does not materially reduce the seriousness of the offending. Although efforts were made by offender to conceal offending, they were not particularly sophisticated, the nature of future sexual activity was rather oblique and there was no applicable previous relationship of trust between offender and believed victim.  

Contrition: Offender said that they accepted full responsibility on at least three occasions, but other times adhered to an account given to third persons to the effect that although offender recognised offending was serious, it was explicable to not thinking of the consequences. Offender could not explain multiple indications within communications where they asked victim to delete records of conversations. Offender said that although they may have indicated desire to meet, they had no real intention to meet. This significantly diminished credibility as a witness. Remorse is only limited.  

Antecedents: Offender has lengthy criminal history, including that of sexual offending and exploitation of children. Record of offences is stretched out during their adult years. It is the record of a person with close familiarity with criminal justice system which may help explain nature of some of the evidence and view expressed by psychologist of a tendency to say things which they think an interlocutor might want to hear. Prior offending indicates that instant offending was not uncharacteristic aberration but rather betokened a continued attitude of disobedience of the law.  

Rehabilitation: Corrections identified offender’s risk of offending to be high. The officer had formed a provisional view of offender’s likelihood of re-offending, read the psychologist’s view and thereafter upgraded assessment of risk of re-offending. Corrections officer would have given weight to specialised knowledge of psychologist. The weight to be accorded to revised view is not materially diminished simply because officer did not expressly specify how content of psychologist’s report influenced her.  

Offender sentenced to 3 years and 2 months imprisonment with a 2-year, 2 month and 19 day 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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