The court has to protect girls when they can’t protect themselves, Justice Karl Harrison said last Friday after hearing details in a case of defilement.
He said the girl, 13, seemed to be attracted to Randy Michael McLean, who was 23 at the time. ‘But at her age she cannot decide things like that.’
McLean told the court ‘I am very sorry for what happened. If I had known her real age I guess I wouldn’t be here.’
Crown Counsel Tanya Lobban told the court that when McLean was first interviewed, he said he did not know the girl was 13; he said he had been told by her she was 15.
Ms Lobban said the girl gave a statement in which she said she had told McLean she was 13. Later she gave another statement to indicate that in fact she had told him she was 16. The girl also said he had attended her home from midnight at her invitation.
McLean’s presence was discovered when the girl’s mother went to the bedroom at 6.40am to get a piece of paper. The mother saw a shadow, after which McLean was discovered hiding in a closet.
The mother called for another adult in the house to restrain him, but he escaped and left the house.
He was subsequently arrested and interviewed, when he admitted that sexual intercourse had taken place.
Defence Attorney Ben Tonner emphasised McLean’s strong work ethic and positive family situation.
He reminded the court that the girl had initiated the encounter and everything was voluntary. ‘She did not feel she was doing anything wrong,’ he said.
Justice Harrison said McLean’s guilty plea was in his favour. What he had done was a very serious mistake.
The court has to send a strong message to others who think they can do the same thing and get away with it, the judge continued. The sentence he imposed was two years imprisonment, suspended for two years. The judge warned McLean he would go to prison to serve that sentence if he found himself back in court for another offence.
He also ordered McLean to perform 50 hours of community service.
Defilement is carnal knowledge of a girl younger than 16. It is no defence to show that the girl consented.