Man jailed over naked photos of girl

NAKED photos were exchanged between a 14-year-old girl and a 28-year-old man after chatting to each other on social media.

The girl initially told the man she was 19, but after later learning her true age he continued his communications despite knowing she was a child.

Very few facts of the precise nature of his offending were given in Ipswich District Court when the man appeared from jail via video-link for sentence.

However, he had precedent offending behaviour having previously been jailed when convicted of having a sexual relationship with a girl under 16.

Now aged 29, the man pleaded guilty to using electronic communications to procure a child under 16 in November 2018 at Bellbird Park; two charges of indecent treatment of a child under 16; and two counts of failing to comply with reporting conditions when a convicted child sexual offender.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic health restrictions in court the Crown prosecutor Margaret Forrest appeared by phone link.

Ms Forrest said the two summary charges related to the man failing to comply with his reporting obligations under the Child Protection Offenders Prohibition Order.

As a convicted child sex offender he failed to report his new telephone number, and failed to report his contact with the child.

He had previously been sentenced on relevant matters by Toowoomba District Court and Beenleigh District Court.

With few facts disclosed in the open court The Queensland Times can report Ms Forrest said the Crown could not make submissions that the offender knew she was not 19 but after meeting in person he added her to Facebook.

Ms Forrest noted written defence argument that the man had an intellectual impairment - saying "I make the point the (psychological) report describes it as mild".

The Crown sought a jail term of between 2 ½ years and 3 ½ years. Ms Forrest said the near 17 months (510 days) spent in custody meant the man already served the minimum one-third of that.

But he had not completed a sexual offenders treatment program as required.

The court heard that a probation order as part of the sentence would allow the program to be done in the community.

It also heard the offending had not breached a previous suspended jail sentence.

Defence barrister Rick Taylor argued for a suspended jail term of 18 months, and tie this in with a supervised probation order.

"He is a man who presents with a mild intellectual impairment," he said.

"Cannot trivialise what he has done. But because of his impairment he is a person of some immaturity.

"He is very simplistic in the way he does things. Struggles to pick up things quickly."

Mr Taylor said a probation order would provide the man with the needed supervision and structure.

He submitted there were two ways to deal with the matter - an 18 month suspended jail term of which he would likely serve the totality having now done 17 months.

Or a fully suspended jail term along with a probation order.

"It would be of sufficient deterrent. He has found prison very difficult and suffered sexual assault. But has managed to avoid physical assault," Mr Taylor said.

Watching and listening to the legal discussion the man became emotional and tearful, until reassured by Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC that he intended to give him a sentence that would see his release from jail sooner rather than later.

With limited skills, the man had begun numeracy and literacy studies in jail but this ended six weeks ago because of COVID-19.

Judge Horneman-Wren briefly touched on Crown facts, saying only that the man was 28 when he began and continued a relationship with a girl aged 14.

"She initially told you she was 19 then on November 24 she told you she was 14," he said.

"After that your conduct (involved) highly sexualised electronic communications.

"(You) procured her to send an indecent image of herself. You sent an indecent image of yourself."

He said when the man first befriended the girl he was not aware of her true age and they physically only met once.

He said the man's previous offending was against a child and as a result he had to report any contact with children and any new mobile phone numbers but failed to do either.

Judge Horneman-Wren said the man's subsequent offending against a child demonstrates why there needed to be reporting done by people convicted of child sexual offences as this was for the protection of others.

He said the man was sentenced in 2016 to a 12 month jail term for unlawful carnal knowledge of a child which was suspended after he served 180 days.

With consideration given to the man's personal circumstances and intellectual capacity, Judge Horneman-Wren sentenced him to 18 months jail with the sentence suspended after he serve 510 days (which he had done).

He was placed on a 12 month probation order for the lesser charges that will include courses and sexual offenders treatment program.

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