Sex abuse sentence appeal rejected

A MACKAY man has been refused leave to appeal a five-year jail sentence for molesting his teenage step-niece.

The girl was left emotionally and mentally scarred for life after her step-uncle coerced her into a sexual relationship.

The girl, who was aged 13 and 14 during the unlawful sexual relationship, told authorities that she only consented to sexual activities because of the pressure brought on her by her step-uncle.

The man, then aged 49, pleaded guilty in the District Court in Mackay about 12 months ago to maintaining a sexual relationship with a child under 16.

The man and girl knew each other through a very close-knit family relationship in which he would provide some home schooling and computer courses for the girl.

The family can not be identified because they lived in a small community near Mackay.

The unlawful sexual relationship lasted about eight months.

He used to text her to meet him in his car for sex outside her home. On a number of occasions, he gave her alcohol.

In the Court of Appeal, Acting Justice Margaret Wilson said: "The man was represented by counsel before the sentencing judge, who received an agreed statement of facts.

"The man has not had legal representation since then and he appeared before this court self-represented by video link from the prison where he is serving his sentence."

In dismissing the man's appeal, Acting Justice Wilson said: "The sentencing judge (Judge Stuart Durward, SC) recognised that he had to fashion a sentence which would provide just punishment, personal and general deterrence, and give expression to the community's denunciation of such conduct.

"His Honour rightly regarded the offending as a gross breach of trust."

The man's five-year jail sentence stands and he will be eligible for parole on May 26 next year.

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