A citizen of the year has been sentenced to prison for two years after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old child last year.
The NT Supreme Court heard the offender who plead guilty to digitally penetrating the girl, was on a fishing trip with the girl and another woman on November 17, 2019.
He was arrested by police in Katherine and taken to the watchhouse three days after the incident where he declined to participate in a formal police interview.
In sentencing Justice Peter Barr said the offender followed the child to their car, and at first, attempted to kiss her vagina area on the outside of her clothes, but she pushed him away. He then shut her in the car, took off her clothes and assaulted her, Justice Barr said,
“When the sexual assault ended, you dressed the victim and allowed her to return to family members,” Justice Barr told the court.
“After the girl went back to her home… she told her big sister that she had been sexually assaulted.
“She and her sister then went to the community health clinic, where arrangements were made for her to be brought to Darwin for assessment at the Sexual Assault Referral Centre.
“When the victim was medically examined, the doctor found that she had sustained a long scratch, causing bleeding on the right side of her vulva between her inner and outer labia.”
Justice Barr said the court heard the young girl was “shaking and very frightened” when she told her sister about the incident.
“One of the consequences of your offending is that the victim no longer wishes to live in her community, because she is scared that people would mock her for what happened,” Justice Barr said.
“It would be most unfortunate if members of the community mocked a young child victim, who was a victim of non-consensual sexual offending by a much older man, who had taken advantage of the trust which the victim’s family had placed in him.
“The victim impact report also says that the girl is really quiet now and she does not go out and play with her friends so much anymore.”
The judge outlined a history lacking any serious prior offending, listing a drink driving offence in 1990, and another in 2003, but concluded the matters were dated, “before this court, you are, effectively, a first offender”.
“It is clear that through your employment, you have made a positive contribution to the community over many years,” Justice Barr said.
“Your counsel describes your offending as an aberration, a deviation from a life otherwise well-lived.
“Your counsel told the court that you were tempted when left alone with the young girl, and that you gave into that temptation.
“As the prosecutor submitted, however, you persisted with your sexual assault on the victim.”
“The only reasonable inference is that you knew that she was not consenting to your subsequent sexual assault on her, in which you digitally penetrated her vagina.”
Since banished from the community he grew up in, and spent most of his adult life, Justice Barr said the offender will have to “start over again” when he is released from prison.
He pointed out that in a past case before the Northern Territory Court of Criminal Appeal in Forrest v The Queen, it was established offences of sexual intercourse without consent are “particularly fact-sensitive”.
“I propose to treat you as a first offender. Your plea of guilty is an early one and you should be given full credit for facilitating the course of justice and for remorse,” Justice Barr said.
The offender has been sentenced to four years and six months in prison, but will only serve two before the sentence is suspended and he is released on probation.
Under the Child Protection Act the offender