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Child sex offenders to face mandatory sentences under Coalition crackdown



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Authorised by Christian Porter, Liberal Party of Australia, Parliament House, Canberra

THE HON. CHRISTIAN PORTER MP Attorney-General Minister for Industrial Relations Leader of the House

THE HON. PETER DUTTON MP Minister for Home Affairs

Media Release Tuesday, 3rd September, 2019 Child sex offenders to face mandatory sentences under Coalition crackdown Paedophiles would face mandatory jail sentences and the most serious offenders could be jailed for life under sweeping changes to Federal sentencing laws to be introduced to Parliament next week. The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Sexual Crimes Against Children and Community Protection Measures) Bill 2019 will also make it harder for serious offenders to get bail, while repeat offenders will have to stay in prison for longer. The Bill reflects the Morrison Government’s commitment to keeping Australians safe and creates new offences to capture evolving forms of child exploitation such as being the administrator of a website that functions for the purpose of distributing child abuse material. Attorney-General Christian Porter said 28 per cent of child sex offenders convicted of federal offences in 2018-19 did not spend one day in jail - a statistic totally out of step with community expectations. “It simply beggars belief that nearly a third of all child sex offenders who were sentenced last year were not required to spend a single day behind bars, despite the devastating and life-long impacts that their crimes have on their young victims and their families,” the Attorney-General said. “And when jail terms were handed out, the average length of time that offenders spent in custody was just 18 months. “The changes being introduced by the Morrison Government will ensure that a jail term becomes the starting point for all child sex offenders, while maximum penalties will also be increased to better reflect the gravity of these types of crimes, including a new life term for the worst offenders.” Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton said the Australian Federal Police received almost 18,000 reports of child exploitation involving Australian children or Australian child sex offenders last year, which was almost double the number from the previous year.

Authorised by Christian Porter, Liberal Party of Australia, Parliament House, Canberra

“Sentences need to reflect community expectations and act as a significant deterrent to others, which is why these sorts of despicable crimes must result in significant penalties, not simply a slap on the wrist which is often the case,” Mr Dutton said.

“Our Government is at war with these predators and all those who would seek to do harm to children.

“The message we are sending to paedophiles is that it won’t matter how good their lawyer is, a prison cell will be waiting for them when they are convicted. This is what the community expects and this what the Morrison Government intends to deliver.

“I would urge the Labor Party, who failed to support these reforms in the last Parliament, to listen to the Australian People and put community safety first when it comes time to vote on this Bill.”

The Bill complements a broad package of reforms already introduced by the Coalition during the last Parliament, which strengthened laws relating to child sexual abuse and created new protections for the community.

This included tough new measures to stop child sex offenders from travelling overseas to abuse children and the introduction of Carly’s law, which targets online predators who use the internet to prepare or plan to sexually abuse children.

The new Bill will vastly improve justice outcomes and community safety through:  Mandatory minimum sentences for serious child sex offences and for recidivist offenders  A presumption against bail for serious and repeat offenders to keep them off the streets  Increased maximum penalties across the spectrum of child sex offences, including up to life

imprisonment for the most serious offences  Presumptions in favour of cumulative sentences and actual imprisonment  Ensuring that all sex offenders, upon release from custody, are adequately supervised and

subject to appropriate rehabilitative conditions  Preventing courts from discounting sentences on the basis of good character where this is used to facilitate the crime.

The Bill will be introduced to Parliament next Wednesday.

Media Contacts: Attorney-General: Grant Taylor - 0456450503 Minister Dutton: Austin Wenke - 0447 027 110

Victoria

Case 1

The offender sent and requested sexually explicit material from young boys aged between 13 and 14, manipulating his victims through rewards, favours and threats. He sent pictures of himself committing an indecent act and also encouraged a victim to do the same on a webcam for him to view. The offender was convicted of 8 Commonwealth offences.

Sentence: 2 years’ imprisonment, fully suspended (no time served in custody).

Under the new sentencing requirements in the Bill: The offender would be subject to the presumption in favour of actual imprisonment, as well as a presumption in favour of cumulative sentencing, meaning the sentencing court would start off at a total sentence of 16 years (if 2 years was considered the appropriate sentence for each offence). The court would also apply other applicable sentencing principles, including the totality principle which requires the court to ensure that the aggregation of the sentences for each offence is a just and appropriate measure of the total criminality involved.

Case 2

The offender engaged in sexually explicit conversations with 4 teenage boys over the internet. In relation a 15 year old Filipino boy, the offender asked for sexually explicit images of the boy and sent the boy five images of his own genitalia. In relation to a 15 year old UK boy, the offender gave advice and directed the boy to engage in sexual intercourse with his girlfriend. He also asked for sexually explicit images. In relation to 2 US boys, the offender had sexually explicit and indecent conversations with them. The offender also contacted an undercover officer, believing the officer to be a 14 year old boy. The offender asked the purported boy to have sex with him and offered to teach the boy. He also requested naked images of the boy. The offender also possessed 286 videos and images of child exploitation material. The material spanned categories 2 to 5 of the CETS scale.

Sentence: At trial, the offender received a total effective sentence of 3 years and 10 months imprisonment with a 1 year and 2 months non-parole period for the federal offences. On appeal, his sentence was reduced to a total effective federal sentence of 2 years and 6 months’ imprisonment with a 12 month pre-release period before he was released on recognisance to be of good behaviour for 18 months.

Under the new sentencing requirements in the Bill: The offender had no prior convictions. The offender entered an early guilty plea. The offender would be subject to an increased maximum penalty of 10 years for offending against subsection 474.27A of the Criminal Code. There would also be a presumption in favour of cumulative sentencing. In determining an appropriate sentence, the court may apply other applicable sentencing principles, including the totality principle.

Case 3

The offender sent and requested sexually explicit online messages to and from children aged between 12 and 15. The offender also made arrangements to meet victims to engage in sexual activity. On one occasion, the offender went to one of the victim’s school, posing as an uncle in an attempt to meet the child for sexual activity. On another occasion, the offender drove to one of his victim’s houses and parked outside while he attempted to contact them. The offender had a criminal

history of child sex offending, including convictions for indecent acts against children and indecent assault and attempted procuring of a child for sexual penetration.

Sentence: 4 years and 6 months’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 2 years and 3 months.

Under the new sentencing requirements in the Bill: The offender was convicted of four counts. As a repeat child sex offender, the court would be required to impose a sentence for each offence within the range governed by the minimum and maximum penalties set by Parliament - meaning a sentence of between 4 years and 15 years for each offence. The offender would also be subject to the presumption in favour of cumulative sentencing, which produces a minimum cumulative sentence of 16 years imprisonment. In determining an appropriate sentence, the court may apply other applicable sentencing principles, including the totality principle. The offender would be subject to a presumption against bail as he is a repeat offender.

NSW

Case 1

The offender was convicted of grooming a 14 year old boy for sexual activity and five counts of using a carriage service to send indecent material to a person under 16 years of age. Over the course of six days, there were 1712 online communications between the offender and the victim, an indeterminate number of instant chat messages, and phone calls which were of a sexually explicit nature and about which the offender repeatedly impressed on the victim the need for secrecy.

Sentence: 18 months imprisonment, fully suspended (no time served in custody), upheld on appeal.

Under the new sentencing requirements in the Bill: The offender would be subject to the presumption in favour of actual imprisonment, as well as a presumption in favour of cumulative sentencing. The court would also apply other applicable sentencing principles, including the totality principle which requires the court to ensure that the aggregation of the sentences for each offence is a just and appropriate measure of the total criminality involved.

Case 2

The offender downloaded 486 to 594 images and 241 to 372 videos of child abuse and child pornography material over a period exceeding 12 months. Of the material, 133 images and 63 videos were classified as Category 4 on the CETS scale and 11 images and 2 videos were classified as Category 5 (being material containing sadism, humiliation or bestiality). The offender previously been convicted of 2 counts of aggravated sexual assault upon a child under 16, 2 counts of aggravated indecent assault upon a child under 16, and 3 counts of committing an act of indecency upon a child under 16

Sentence: At trial, the offender received a 15 month Intensive Correction Order for his federal offence and a 12 month Intensive Correction Order for his state offence. These were wholly concurrent. On appeal, the sentence for the federal offence was increased to 18 months’ imprisonment and the sentence for the state offence was increased to 15 months’ imprisonment. The Court directed that at the expiration of 15 months, the offender be released upon his own recognisance, without security, upon payment of a sum of $500, to be of good behaviour for a period of 3 months.

Under the new sentencing requirements in the Bill: As a repeat child sex offender, the court would be required to impose a sentence for each offence within the range governed by the minimum and maximum penalties set by Parliament - meaning a sentence of between 4 years and 15 years for each offence. The offender would be subject to the presumption in favour of cumulative sentencing. In determining an appropriate sentence, the court may apply other applicable sentencing principles, including the totality principle. The offender would be subject to a presumption against bail as he is a repeat offender.

Queensland

Case 1

The offender sexually abused three young boys aged between 11 and 13 while serving overseas in the armed forces. He was convicted of eight counts of sexual conduct involving a child under 16 and seven counts of sexual intercourse with a child under 16. The sentencing judge believed the offender had a good chance of rehabilitation, referring to his excellent record in the armed forces and volunteer work. The judge also assessed the offender’s sexual offending as being at the lower end of the entire scale of sexual offences.

Sentence: 3 years and 6 months’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 1 year and 9 months.

Under the new sentencing requirements in the Bill: The court would be required to impose a sentence for each offence within the range governed by the minimum and maximum penalties set by Parliament - for example, meaning a sentence of between 5 years and 20 years for each sexual intercourse offence. The offender would be subject to the presumption in favour of cumulative sentencing. In determining an appropriate sentence, the court may apply other applicable sentencing principles, including the totality principle.

Case 2

The offender was the administrator of a highly frequented website which made available at least 15,375 images of child abuse material, depicting children of an average age of 8-14 years but also younger children. The offender was responsible for categorising material on the website and was fully aware that the website provided child abuse material to its users. The offender was convicted of using a carriage service to make child pornography available.

Sentence: 3 years and 6 months’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 1 year.

Under the new sentencing requirements in the Bill: There was no offence in the Criminal Code that adequately covered the behaviour of creating and administrating a website to facilitate dealings with child abuse material. This behaviour will be captured by the new regime through the new ‘electronic service’ offence which explicitly criminalises this behaviour.

The proposed ‘electronic service’ offence will more explicitly criminalise the behaviour of creating/administrating a website to facilitate dealings with child abuse. The offender could be charged under this new offence, which attracts a minimum sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment and a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment. The offender would also be subject to the presumption in favour of cumulative sentencing, if multiple offences were proved. In determining an appropriate sentence, the court may apply other applicable sentencing principles, including the

totality principle.

Case 3

The offender made child exploitation material, which he stored on his computer, available to other users of an online file sharing platform on 957 occasions over a period of 430 days. The child exploitation material made available spanned categories 1-4 of the CETS scale. The offender possessed more than 10,000 files of child exploitation material.

Sentence: At trial, the offender was sentenced to concurrent terms of imprisonment of 3 years on count 1, 4 years on count 2, 18 months on count 3 and 18 months on count 4, which were ordered to commence upon the offender serving 12 months for a separate charge of maintaining a sexual relationship with a child. The offender’s non-parole period for the Commonwealth offences was 12 months. His total effective sentence was 5 years’ imprisonment with a 2 year non-parole period. The CDPP appealed the sentence on the basis that it was manifestly inadequate but the appeal was dismissed by the Queensland Court of Appeal.

Under the new sentencing requirements in the Bill: At the time of sentencing, the offender was beginning a sentence for maintaining a sexual relationship with a child. He also had a previous conviction for making child exploitation. The offender pleaded guilty and cooperated with the police. The court would be required to impose a sentence for each offence within the range governed by the minimum and maximum penalties set by Parliament - meaning a sentence of between 7 years and 30 years for the aggravated offence. In relation to all offences, the offender would be subject to the presumption in favour of cumulative sentencing. In determining an appropriate sentence, the court may apply other applicable sentencing principles, including the totality principle. The offender would be subject to a presumption against bail as he is a repeat offender.