Jailed on incest charges

A 38-YEAR-OLD man has been sentenced to five years and six months jail on incest and indecent act charges after a County Court judge said children needed to be protected from these situations.

However, he will only have to serve a minimum of three years and eight months and be placed on the Victorian Sexual Offenders Register for life. 

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, got his young victim to touch him inappropriately. He also committed a sex act on the victim, which caused them physical pain.

The incidents occurred on three different days between October last year and May this year in the Ballarat region.

Judge Richard Maidment said in a County Court yesterday that the man was “genuinely and deeply remorseful” for his conduct. 

But, he also said incest was a very serious betrayal.

“Children are entitled to be protected,” Judge Maidment said.

“It is clear to the court the impact of incest...is lasting and significant and may cause a very serious adverse effect on the lives of the victims.”

Judge Maidment pointed to several letters of reference tendered to the court by defence counsel Amanda Hurst. 

“These letters are testifying to your otherwise good character, your public service and to your strong work ethic.

“I think it is unlikely you will reoffend. It falls to the courts, at the end of the day, to impose a sentence designed to protect young children in these situations. 

“You had ample time to reflect, it can’t be looked on as an ... aberration.”

Judge Maidment said many incest cases were of a much more serious nature and much more invasive.However, most importantly he needed to keep general deterrence in mind.

“Unless the courts impose significant sentences for offences of this kind, the court is failing in its duty toward protecting young children.”

The man received a 15-month sentence for an indecent act in the presence of a child, two years for an indecent act with or in the presence of a child, two years and six months for an indecent act with or in the presence of a child and a three year and nine month term for incest.

With some of the sentences accumulated, the total is five years and six months, with a three year and eight month minimum.