Man gets prison term after assault on 5-year-old girl
A man who pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting his step-granddaughter was sentenced on Friday to two years and eight months imprisonment. The girl was 5 years old at the time and he was 44.
Justice Malcolm Swift explained that the starting point of his sentence was three years. The aggravating features of the girl’s age and the man’s position of trust raised the sentence to four years.
However, he added, defense counsel Lucy Organ had persuaded him to give full credit for the early admissions of guilt. She told the court that the reason the defendant did not enter a guilty plea earlier was her decision to ask for a psychiatric evaluation to see if he was fit to plead.
The one-third discount for the plea brought the sentence down from 48 months to 32 months. Justice Swift said the plea had saved the girl from a prolonged ordeal and having to give testimony in a trial. He also accepted the man’s expression of shame and remorse. A victim impact statement indicated that the girl seemed not to have been unduly affected.
Ms Organ pointed out the difficulties there would have been if the matter had gone to trial. She said she was not sure the child could be sworn, so there would have to be corroboration for her evidence.
It was one incident, she pointed out, and it was not attempted rape. Plus, the man had stopped himself.
The defendant’s interview with police had revealed a number of personal problems, but he had never blamed the girl. In fact, he wanted to save her from being scarred by giving evidence, Ms Organ indicted.
She reported that the defendant had previously abused ganja and alcohol, but has abstained. He was of previous good character and had been an active churchgoer, she noted.
Ms Organ provided several references from the church and community, which the judge said he had taken into account.