Chinchilla born and raised man who preyed on stepchild sentenced
INTRUSTED with looking after his stepdaughter while his partner tended to a dying relative, a Chinchilla born-and-raised man instead preyed upon the young girl by setting up security cameras to watch her undress, a court has heard.
The man - who cannot be named for legal reasons - appeared in Toowoomba District Court on July 30 to face two counts of indecent treatment of a child under 16 as a guardian and one count of attempting to pervert justice.
Documents show Judge Paul Smith recounted the events on that led to the crimes committed by the Western Downs man against the daughter of his partner of over a decade.
The court heard the man sat the child on his bed and talked about masturbation and presented her a sex toy.
"She did not want it and left the room," Judge Smith said, according to court documents.
Later that night, Judge Smith said the man pointed home security cameras into the 13-year-old's bedroom to film her undressing.
"(You) moved it so it was facing towards her bed where she usually got dressed, you set it to record, and it was linked to your mobile phone via an app," he said.
"At 6.16pm it clearly showed her coming back from the shower, getting dressed and her naked body could clearly be seen on the recording and you watched that recording on your phone in real-time."
When the child's mother came home the next day, Magistrate Smith said she told her mother the cameras had been moved.
"The mother examined the data card in the camera and saw the recording - a complaint was (then) made to the police," he said.
Police executed a search warrant at the home, seizing a video, and a number of sex toys, although Judge Smith said they did not find evidence of the video on the stepfather's phone.
"You made admissions to the police, admitting you were quite 'f--ked up,' and to deleting the recording from your phone," Judge Smith said.
The child's stepfather pleaded guilty to all charges.
When Judge Smith delivered his sentence he acknowledged the man had no prior history of a sexual nature and noted he suffered from significant mental health issues, in particular depression, which had caused suicide attempts, and hospitalisation.
"That psychiatric disorder has continued over the years such that... you admitted yourself to the acute section of the (a) mental health ward," he said.
Judge Smith noted the man's defence lawyer, barrister Jessica Goldie had stressed to the court that he pleaded guilty and made full admissions to police.
"She stresses there was no actual touching and you did immediately delete the recording," Judge Smith said.
"She submits that I should take into account exceptional circumstances; being no previous sexual offending, low level offending in that there was no touching, admissions made to the offence, you deleted the video, the early pleas, the good character, the depression and the fact that you admitted yourself to the acute mental health service."
Judge Smith told the man he was, "persuaded in light of your mental condition and health conditions and the early pleas to release you today".
The Chinchilla local was sentenced to a suspended term of imprisonment for 12 months, and placed on probation for two years, which included a psychiatric condition.
"On each count I record a conviction; on count one, I impose 12 months imprisonment. On count three, I impose 12 months imprisonment - those terms of imprisonment are to be served concurrently with each other.
"With respect to count two - as I say, a conviction is recorded - I order you be released under the supervision of an authorised corrective services officer for a period of two years."
"I think that is going to be important as you go forward and I think it will help you, actually, deal with these problems that you have," Judge Smith said.
Judge Smith imposed conditions which included regular visits from a corrective services officer, taking part in an ongoing counselling program, staying within Queensland unless permitted and comply with directions from corrective officers.
* If you or someone you know has had experience with sexual assault, or an abusive relationship, please seek help from the following numbers and organisations HERE.