SORA Exemption Application – Child Sex Offence

Melbourne County CourtThis is a case study on a successful Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) exemption application involving a child sex offence.

Our client was placed on the Sex Offender Register after pleading guilty to sexual penetration with a child under the age of 16. The client was 18 years old when he had sex with a girl under the age of 16 at a party. The judge found that he had good prospects of rehabilitation due to his age, his lack of priors, and his family support. Despite this, his Honour had to place him on the register because of the nature of the charges. He was placed on the register for 15 years.

The client found life on the register unbearable. He was too scared to apply for work because he was afraid of his employer finding out that he was a registered offender. He was too scared to enter into a relationship with anyone for fear of them finding out that he was a registered offender. He couldn’t even tell his closest friends or his relatives because he felt nervous about the judgement and hostility he would face.

When section 11A of the Sex Offender Registration Act 2004 (Vic) came into effect, we advised our client that he was eligible to apply for an exemption order. We represented the client at the Melbourne County Court for a SORA exemption application.

We prepared a detailed affidavit on behalf of the client, explaining why he was eligible for an exemption order and why the order should be granted. In the affidavit, we described the context of the offender and the victim meeting at a party. We referred to the judge’s sentencing remarks and highlighted that his Honour viewed the offending as opportunistic and considered that the applicant had good prospects of rehabilitation.

We also referred to the applicant’s psychological report which assessed him as low risk of reoffending. We highlighted the client’s lack of criminal history, his youth, and his ongoing family support. We then used this affidavit for the SORA exemption application. Josh Taaffe appeared at the hearing and the exemption order was ultimately granted.

The judge was satisfied that the client met the qualifying criteria and was therefore eligible for an order. She ruled that the client was no risk to the sexual safety of the community and, further, that being prosecuted had been a great specific deterrent to him. She also took into account the police position which was not to oppose the exemption order.

This was a life-changing result for our client and his family. He was no longer a registered sex offender and did not have to live with the stigma of being on the register. His family were grateful – they felt that a huge weight had been lifted off their shoulders and their son could finally get on with his life due to the successful SORA exemption application.

Elements of Sexual Penetration of a Child Under the Age of 16:

  • The accused took part in an act of sexual penetration with the complainant.
  • The accused intended to take part in that act of sexual penetration.
  • The complainant was under the age of 16 at the time the sexual penetration took place.

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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 15/02/2019