A SERIAL flasher who masturbated in front of young children in a park and showed pornography to a six-year-old girl has been released from prison.
Having already served 210 days in custody, Michael John Smith, 55, was yesterday sentenced to an 18 month community corrections order with no additional jail time.
He was also ordered to undertake a sex offenders program, and will remain on the Sex Offenders Register for life.
Smith pleaded guilty to 16 charges in Ballarat Magistrates Court, including committing an indecent act with a child under 16 and seven counts of wilful and obscene exposure.
Among the string of offences, on November 9 last year Smith approached a mother and young children in the Smythesdale Gardens and masturbated in their direction.
He then went to a bus shelter on the Glenelg Highway, where he again exposed himself and masturbated, this time while facing passing traffic.
Smith then returned to the gardens where he exposed himself to another mother, who was with three children under the age of four.
After the woman told him to get dressed, Smith went away and returned completely naked and masturbating about five metres away from them.
Later that day police intercepted Smith on the Glenelg Highway. When they searched his car they found several sex toys, condoms, lubricant, pornographic DVDs and a length of rope.
During the police interview Smith admitted several other recent flashing incidents including at the McDonalds drive-through in Sturt Street, and at McDonalds and Blockbuster Video in Sebastopol.
Crown Prosecutor Alex Patton also said that on an earlier occasion when Smith was staying at the Ararat Hotel, he sat down with a six-year-old girl and played her a pornographic movie on his portable DVD player.
Following a delay in a Corrections assessment, defence lawyer Patrick Bourke urged the court to release his client, saying he had already spent more time in custody than he was likely to be sentenced too.
“It just ought to have been done, it’s a simple as that,” Mr Bourke said.
Magistrate Richard Pithouse said he too was frustrated by the delay Smith had endured.