R v Unidentified Sports Coach (2014) H&FLR 2014-61

The Queen v Unidentified Sports Coach (2014) H&FLR 2014-61

Albury District Court (New South Wales)

2 December 2014

Coram: Judge Whitford

Appearing for the Appellant: Christine Mendes (instructors not identified)
Appearing for the Respondent: Andrew Hanshaw (instructed by NSW Director of Public Prosecutions)

Catchwords: New South Wales – sports coach – indecent assault on a girl under 16 years – grooming – appeal – sentence

Facts:  The defendant was a 25 year old sporting coach from a small community in the Riverina.  In 2013 he committed a number of offences in relation to a 14 year old girl.  It appears the victim was known to him in their community but not part of the sports team he coached.  Over a period of some months he sent her a number of sexually explicit text messages and suggested both sexual activity and developing a relationship.  On two occasions he touched her in a sexual manner.  He was charged with indecent assault on a girl under 16 years (Crimes Act 1900, §61L), and with grooming (Crimes Act 1900, §66EB).

The NSW Local Court (Magistrate Greenwood) noted the impact of the offences on the victim, including her loss of reputation and feeling judged and blamed.  A pre-sentence report indicated that the offender had little insight or remorse into his offending.  He was sentenced at first instance to 20 months imprisonment, to serve a minimum of 15 months:  R v Unidentified Sports Coach (2014), Border Mail, 15 July 2014, p.__.  The defendant appealed against the severity of the sentence.

Held: allowing the appeal, that the defendant had extensive support from his family and community.  A variation of the penalty was considered to have the potential to continue the defendants efforts at rehabilitation.  The sentences imposed by Magistrate Greenwood were converted to suspended sentences.

Judgment

No written judgment is available.  The report prepared based on the account in the Border Mail (Albury Wodonga), 3 December 2014, p.3.