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R v Hartley-Kennett [2021] ACTSC 88

The offender was sentenced following pleas of guilty to 1 count of using a carriage service to solicit child abuse material contrary to s 474.22 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code and 1 count of using a carriage service to procure a person under 16 years of age to engage in sexual activity contrary to s 474.26(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code.  

Nature and Circumstances: Offender was aware purported victim was only 14 years old. Tenor of messages increased in intensity over time and progressively focused on procurement for sexual activity. Offender sought to normalise conduct and break down any resistance from victim in communication with them. Offender was arrested at arranged meeting place where they were to meet the victim which was a relatively secluded location.  

Mental Condition: Offender was experiencing subclinical symptoms of depression and at times anxiety. However, psychologist did not believe these contributed to the offending. It was nevertheless possible that from time to time, the offender was cognitively affected to the point where judgment was impaired, but psychologist did not believe that this was the case with respect to offending. Psychologist did not believe that symptoms would have made offender disinhibited or impaired ability to appreciate wrongfulness of conduct. Condition will make offender somewhat more vulnerable in custody. There is a risk offender’s mental state will deteriorate in custody, possibly to the stage where offender may become a suicide risk.  

Offender sentenced to 13 months imprisonment to be released on recognizance release order after 6 months.
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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