Supercar child groper leaving after ’vigilante justice’
A GROWN man who molested a 13-year-old girl in the mosh pit at a post-race concert at the Darwin Supercar round last year will leave town after being threatened with violence by online vigilantes.
Joseph Lemmens, 22, walked from court yesterday with an 18 month jail sentence, suspended after seven days served, having earlier this month pleaded guilty to committing an act of gross indecency on a 13-year-old girl.
Lemmens's lawyer, Julia Ker, told the court her client was sacked from his diesel mechanic apprenticeship after the NT News reported on his child sex offending.
Ms Ker provided a bundle of threatening Facebook comments directed at Lemmens, including threats to have him assaulted in jail.
"The court can't be seen to condone any actual or threatened vigilantism," she said.
She said Lemmens being known as a child sex offender would cause him difficulties throughout for the rest of his life and that he would be leaving Darwin to take up a job offer in Port Headland.
Ms Ker unsuccessfully applied to have the fact Lemmens planned to move to Port Hedland suppressed from publication.
After Lemmens was charged, some of his friends subjected the victim to what Chief Justice Michael Grant described as "something of a social media campaign calling her a liar and accusing her of having you arrested for no reason".
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Chief Justice Grant said Lemmens was not responsible for what his friend's harassment of his victim, but said amounted to a "further and indirect" consequence of Lemmens's offending.
Crown Prosecutor Stephen Geary argued unsuccessfully for Lemmens to serve more time in jail than the seven days he served on remand.
He said Chief Justice Grant should give little weight to the vigilante threats made against Lemmens.
"The victim in this matter was also the subject of social media bullying …
"This is not the first matter that has been commented on social media."
"There's no doubt that this mob of social media is the new form of tarring and feathering people".
Mr Geary said the any threats suggesting Lemmens might attacked in jail could be managed by authorities.
"He won't be the only sexual offender that's there," he said.
He said prisons had a "very strange morality in some respects in that awful offences are seen as acceptable … but sexual offences often are frowned upon".
Lemmens is banned from contacting his victim, "whether directly or indirectly including by way of social media".