A-G steps in to appeal sentence

QUEENSLAND'S Attorney-General will appeal the sentence of a Bundaberg childcare worker who admitted sexually assaulting toddlers, believing it to be "manifestly inadequate".

The Bundaberg man, who cannot be named to protect his victims, faced Maryborough District Court last week and pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent treatment.

The court was told the man was a group leader of a childcare centre in 2011 when he took up a position to look after three-year-old children, two of whom he inappropriately touched in the groin area while he was caring for them.

The man was sentenced to 14 months jail, wholly suspended for two years, and 18 months probation, meaning he walked free from the courthouse on the day of sentencing.

But yesterday, Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie ordered the Director of Public Prosecutions to appeal the sentence on the grounds of inadequacy.

"The Attorney-General advised crown prosecutors he is of the view the sentence is manifestly inadequate, does not set an appropriate deterrent and is not in line with community expectations," a spokesman for Mr Bleijie said.

"Sex offences committed against children are heinous and the community expects these predators to spend time behind bars."

The spokesman said the decision to appeal was not taken lightly and was only directed in "special circumstances".

"The Attorney-General has appealed three district court sentences since becoming minister," he said.

"The Attorney-General will consider any sentence bought to his attention and exercise his right to appeal if it is warranted."

The community outcry over the man's sentence was evident in the pages of the NewsMail, with dozens of SMSes sent in by outraged readers saying they were "appalled" and "utterly disgusted".

Many of the people who wrote in expressed their disappointment with the legal system for allowing the "weak" sentence.

A notice of appeal has been filed with the court and a date for the hearing is yet to be set.

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