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R v Terrence Edward Laybutt [2021] NSWDC 2

The offender was sentenced following a plea of guilty of 1 count of using a carriage service to transmit a communication to another person with the intent to procure that person to engage in sexual activity, that person being under the age of 16 and the offender over the age of 18 contrary to s 474.26(1) Commonwealth Criminal Code.

Nature and Circumstances: Offender made reference to their work as a teacher to gain the confidence of the person they believed was the child. The seriousness of the offending goes beyond low range into the mid-range. This is due to the repeated nature of the communications constituting the offence and the graphic and inappropriate language, seemingly dressed up as appropriate by reason of being educational. It is also due to the matters that sought to gain the child’s confidence including reference to teaching, assurance regarding preventing pregnancy, and offender’s ‘politeness’ which could more accurately be described as obsequious deceit. The offender engaged in gross and inappropriate physical actions of the offender and encouraged the ‘child’ to keep it secret.  

Contrition: Evidence to contrition, remorse and regret was not challenged. Evidence was supported by offender’s psychologist and psychiatrist as well as the testimonial of their brother and own evidence. There is an element of denial by offender as to acknowledging their wrongdoing. There is an element of loneliness contributing to the offender, but there are inconsistencies in support of this e.g. the daytime communications. Offender does suffer from depression, which was worse at the time of offending. Whilst sentencing judge unreservedly satisfied as to remorse, sentencing judge not entirely satisfied that there was frank and complete acknowledgment of the motivations of wrongdoing.  

Character, Antecedents, Age: Offender has been pro social law-abiding hard-working family man and credit themselves and their family. Sentencing judge did not consider that nature of offending means that good character should not be given any weight. Term of imprisonment may undo improvements to offender’s health which may in turn make them more likely to reoffend upon release. It was not due to offender’s standing in the community as a teacher that they were able to communicate with the ‘child’.  

Offender sentenced to 1 year and 3 months imprisonment with a 1 year and 3 month 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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