A 42-year-old Darwin man who committed dozens of child abuse offences — including sexual intercourse without consent with a family member under 10 years old — has been sentenced to six years in prison.
WARNING: This story contains details some readers may find distressing.
- The offending took place across a four-year period
- The man’s victims include his daughter, who was aged between one and five at the time
- A non-parole period of four years has been set
The man had previously pleaded guilty to 28 offences including possessing child abuse material and recording indecent images of children.
The offending occurred between 2014 and 2018.
Neither the man nor his victims can be identified for legal reasons.
During sentencing in the Northern Territory Supreme Court on Thursday, Justice Graham Hiley said the victims included the man’s young daughter, his niece and two other young girls, though none of the girls seemed to be aware of the conduct.
Justice Hiley said police were alerted to the offending after a former partner of the offender, with whom he had a son and a daughter, accessed his phone in mid-2018.
He said the former partner found sexually explicit images of their daughter on the device and alerted police days later.
Police seized the man’s phone and laptop and later found more than 2,000 child abuse images on the devices after digital analysis.
The material included indecent images of the offender’s daughter, then aged between one and five, and other young victims known to him, some of them manipulated with photo-editing software.
The man was also found to have covertly taken photos of other, unknown girls’ groin and buttocks regions at various shopping centres across the greater Darwin region during a one-month period late in 2017.
The court had ordered all the material involved in the case be destroyed.
Substance use contributed to offending
During sentencing, Justice Hiley said the offending was likely to have long-lasting impacts on the man’s family.
“One always wonders why people engage in disgusting, perverted offending like this, and your barrister has not been able to advance a reason for why you engaged in this conduct,” he said.
Referring to police interviews, submissions from defence counsel and a psychiatric report, he said the offender’s regular methamphetamine use at the time contributed to the offending.
“You also told police your motivation was to assist you to sexually perform better with your partner,” Justice Hiley said.
“You felt that your sexual performance could be improved if you viewed the material.”
He also believed the offender did not seem to intend to distribute or sell the images.
When reading from a victim impact statement written by the partner of the offender, Justice Hiley said the woman was understandably extremely upset about what had happened to their daughter.
“I cannot express to you how betrayed and hurt I feel … I don’t trust anyone anymore,” he read from the statement.
“It’s been an excruciating, long two-year wait to finally have a conviction.”
Justice Hiley said the woman had been unable to work since the man was arrested.
“The whole thing, in her opinion, has resulted in ongoing trauma for herself and is likely to do so for her children,” he said.
Justice Hiley took into account the man’s guilty plea and cooperation with police in his sentencing.
The 42-year-old was sentenced to six years in prison with a non-parole period of four years, to be backdated to June 2018.