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R v Wingate [2022] NSWDC 184

The offender was sentenced following a conviction to 3 counts of committing an act of indecency while outside Australia on a person under the age of 16 years contrary to s 50BC(1)(a) of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth).

Nature and Circumstances: Offending involved a 13-year-old child in the Philippines. Offender represented themselves to the victim and her mother as having some form of medical qualifications or experience, providing an explanation as to how the ‘examinations’ of the victim’s breasts took place without protest at the time from the victim or her mother. Each of the offences involved skin on skin contact with the victim’s exposed breasts over a reasonably significant period of 5 to 10 minutes. Offences are more appropriately treated as opportunistic rather than planned, although there was some small degree of planning involved in the offender’s false representations. Offences took place across a course of conduct. Offending has had an adverse impact psychologically on the victim, who is now aged 29, and created a sense of violation likely to remain with her for a long time. Offending is slightly below the mid-range of seriousness.

Rehabilitation: In 2014, about 8 years after the current offences, offender committed more serious offences in relation to their granddaughter. Communications in 2013 extracted by police and convictions for offences against children committed in 2006 and 2014 support the conclusion that the offender remains a risk of further sexual offences against children, if given the opportunity. In the absence of treatment, the only matters that ameliorate that risk are the offender’s advancing age, deteriorating health and perhaps their limited access to children. Nonetheless, offender remains a risk given their demonstrated sexual interest in children and cannot be said to have favourable prospects of rehabilitation.

Delay: There has been significant delay between the offences and trial. However, this is a case where in the intervening period the offender committed other sexual offences against a child. This is not an aggravating factor, but demonstrates this is not a case like some in which an offender during a period of delay has not re-offended or achieved some rehabilitation. Delay is not a matter of any real significance.

Offender sentenced to 4 years and 2 months imprisonment with a non-parole period of 2 years and 9 months, commencing on 16 December 2020.
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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