Ballarat sex offender, 78, sentenced for historic offences

AN ELDERLY Ballarat sex offender, jailed in 2010 for serious sexual assaults on a young boy in the 1980s, was today sentenced in the County Court over further offences which targeted a young boy in the 1950s. 

Sentencing Darrell Cocking, 78, to 12-months jail, wholly suspended for three years, Judge Michael McInerney said the offending had not been isolated, adding Cocking, purely for his own sexual gratification, had destroyed the victim's innocence. 

Judge McInerney said Cocking was aged between 24 and 26 when he sexually assaulted the male victim who was between eight and nine years old. 

He said the offending, occurred at a house of a relative of Cocking and on a trip to Warrnambool, between 1959 and 1960. 

Describing the breach of trust as considerable, Judge McInerney said the victim - now in his 50s - still suffered every day. 

The court heard Cocking was jailed for more than two years in 2010 for the sexual assault of a 12-year-old boy between 1980 and 1981. 

Judge McInerney said Cocking's crimes, for which he was sentenced yesterday, only came to light when the victim read about Cocking's abuse of the other young boy in the 1980s. 

"He (the victim) wasn't believed for so long by his own family," Judge McInerney said. 

"...because you, Mr Cocking, didn't disclose them (the earlier offences)."Judge McInerney said the victim had experienced depression and ongoing trauma since the assaults, adding doctors had linked the conditions directly to the abuse.

Seated in the dock of the court, a frail looking Cocking closed his eyes for most of the sentence, at times shaking his head. 

Judge McInerney said it had been "a very close call" to not impose an immediate term of imprisonment. 

He said given Cocking's age and health, a term of immediate imprisonment would have presented "difficulties".

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