Sexual Offence Against Child – Suspended Sentence

This was a matter which involved the sexual relationship between our client, a female accused (aged 19 at the time of the offences), and the complainant who was 13 at the time when the offences occurred. The charges were initially made up of multiple charges of sexual offences over a period of 3 years, including Sexual penetration of child under 16.

We represented the client at the Melbourne County Court.

The matter resolved before committal to one single charge of “persistent sexual abuse of a child under 16″. The complainant and accused conducted a relationship for a period of approximately 6 years, in which time they had three children together. The relationship ended when the complainant was in his late teens. He did not make his statement to police about this matter until approximately 10 years after the relationship had ended.

Our client had no prior criminal history and did not have any subsequent matters. She had six children in her custody and care (three of which were fathered by the complainant). It became apparent that there may be some undiagnosed intellectual disability. We arranged for a specialist to assess our client on two occasions and it was found that she did have an intellectual disability which meant that her mental capacity was similar to the complainant at the time when the relationship began.

The Crown tried to oppose the use of the psychological material which we sought to put on her behalf. Ultimately, the psychologist who gave the opinion came to court and gave evidence in support of her findings. We also discovered that one of the accused’s children who was in her care also had intellectual disabilities and this was the subject of a further report.

We argued in Court that the Judge can take into account not only the intellectual capabilities of our client and her understanding of the relationship that she entered, but also that if she were imprisoned, it would cause undue hardship on her child. It would obviously affect all of her children, but would have a significantly detrimental impact on the intellectually disabled child.

The Judge ultimately imposed a wholly suspended sentence which meant that our client does not have to go to jail.


DISCLAIMER: This is a real case study of an actual case from our files. Details pertaining to the client have been changed to protect their privacy. The sentence imposed and the charge have not been altered. These case studies are published to demonstrate real outcomes and give an indication of possible tariffs in Court. We do not guarantee a similar case on these charges will get the same result. Please note that we post results at our discretion, therefore while many case studies are average results, others are notable for their exceptional outcomes. PUBLISHED 25/02/2013