Man with disability who raped girl, 8, walks free

THE digital rape of a child by a Bundaberg man with an intellectual disability presented Bundaberg District Court with a difficult task when determining just what was a fitting punishment.

The man, 24, pleaded guilty to one count of rape and three counts of indecent treatment of a child under 12 when she was aged 8 and 9 and he was 19 and 20.

The man was a friend of the victim's older brother.

Crown prosecutor Sandra Cupina told Judge Terry Martin SC the rape took place in a garage when the man was visiting the home.

The man told the victim's brother to leave the room, removed his pants and began masturbating. He removed the girl's underwear and digitally assaulted her.

She yelled for him to stop, screamed and ran from the room crying.

There were other incidents, including one witnessed by the girl's mother who immediately told him to "get out of the house". The man said nothing happened, however he phoned the brother and told him what he had done.

The matter went to the Mental Health Court but was returned to the District Court.

Ms Cupina said in the offender's favour was the fact the digital rape became known to investigating police only because he made admissions.

The child gave only limited information.

The man was assessed by psychologists and psychiatrists and told some he had no sexual interest in children, at odds with what he told police.

Defence Barrister Robert East said that only for the man's intellectual disability the court would be considering an actual prison term.

"It is a very exceptional case. I have provided all the reports provided to the Mental Health Court," he said.

Mr East said the man later denied being responsible for any of this, saying his admissions had been "extracted from him unfairly".

However, a report states that his intellectual disability indicated he makes poor choices.

The man acknowledged his actions were wrong but had been "more naughty" than criminal.

Mr East said there were exceptional circumstances due to his intellectual disability and other considerations.

He said the man would be quite vulnerable if jailed and his intellectual function was very poor, "below 99% of the population".

In his submission on sentencing, Mr East said that there was no evidence of any stress or post trauma to the child since.

After consideration Judge Martin found there were exceptional circumstances and sentenced the man to 12 months jail for the rape, immediately suspended for two years.

For the three counts of indecent treatment of a child, he was ordered to do two-and-a-half years of supervised probation.

He must submit to medical and psychological treatment and go to a sexual offenders programs and undertake counselling.



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