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R v Parnell [2023] NSWDC 171

The offender was sentenced following a plea of guilty to 1 count of using a carriage service with the intention of procuring the recipient to engage in sexual activity where the recipient is a person the sender believed to be under 16 years of age contrary to s 474.26(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code.

Nature and Circumstances: There were no children involved in the creation or transmission of the messages on Instagram and there was no risk that the material would be seen or accessed by vulnerable persons. The material was sent for the offender’s own sexual gratification and they acted alone. There was no evidence that the material was created for the purpose of being sent to anyone else, or that it was in fact sent to anyone else. There was no evidence of the offender trying to meet the fictitious young person to engage in sexual activity. The offence was not planned or sophisticated. The offender relied on the anonymity provided by the internet but did not engage in deception in order to communicate with the fictitious young person. Offence falls in the low range of objective seriousness.

Specific Deterrence: There is a need for specific deterrence but it is significantly reduced. Offender presents a low risk of reoffending. They committed the offence as a result of being placed in a very stressful set of circumstances and then being provoked. Offender has good family support, stable accommodation and long-term employment. They are amenable to engaging in interventions and their risk factors for recidivism can be significantly reduced, if not eliminated, through appropriate treatment.

Antecedents: Offender is presently 36 years of age. Offender was 21 when they were convicted of relevant previous offences. The first of the offences was committed when they were about 15 years of age. Whilst offender’s prior convictions prevent them from being a person of good character, they have lived their life as a productive member of the community after they were released from gaol.

Offender sentenced to 2 years and 10 months of imprisonment to be released immediately on recognizance of $1,000 to be of good behaviour for 5 years.
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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