Man's sex assault of boys had 'significant lifelong impact'
A Northern Rivers man has been convicted and sentenced for historical child sex offences against three boys.
The 54-year-old, had pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated indecent assault of a person under 16 years dating from the early 1990s and one count of the offence that was then known as category 4 sexual assault, or assault with an act of indecency.
The Tweed Shire man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was arrested over the incidents in June 2019.
The incidents involved three separate boys, at least one of whom was a relative of the man.
When the man faced Tweed Heads Local Court for sentencing on Friday, defence solicitor Cameron Bell asked for an alternative to prison.
Mr Bell told the court his client lives with a "mild intellectual disability" of a kind which posed a "significant imposition on a person's function" and said the man had just recently begun to process abuse inflicted upon him as a child.
"The offences must be viewed in the context of someone with these disabilities who himself had been abused as a young person," Mr Bell said.
"There is insight and remorse, your honour, and contrition."
The DPP prosecutor argued the man should be imprisoned.
"There are three victims in this matter," she said,
"This has to be a custodial matter … given the conduct and given what (occurred)."
Magistrate Geoff Dunlevy accepted the prosecution's argument that none of the offences "fall toward the lower end" of objective seriousness.
"Each of the charges levelled against the defendant also carry a significant maximum penalty," he said.
He said it was "not unusual" for such offences, at the time they were committed, to be dealt with by recognisance orders.
"In more modern times these type of offences are very often met with terms of imprisonment," Mr Dunlevy said.
"Parliament and courts now recognise the very significant trauma suffered by children when they experience indecent assaults.
"I accept that for the victims the offences had a significant lifelong impact on them.
"They are both clearly traumatised by the defendant's offending behaviour."
He said factors aggravating the offending included the fact it took place in the home of the victims and that the man abused "a position of trust and authority".
But he said he must take into account the man's circumstances, including his disability.
He found the man "has good prospects of rehabilitation" and "is unlikely to reoffend in the future".
For the aggravated indecent assaults, he imposed three year community corrections orders.
He imposed a two year order for the other offence and ordered the man to complete 250 hours of community service work.