Bunbury man escapes prison term for underaged sex

In court this week.
In court this week.

A Bunbury man who had sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend was convicted of two child sex offences in the District Court on Monday.

The 20-year-old offender, who cannot be named, pleaded guilty to indecently dealing with a child over 13 and under 16, and sexually penetrating the same child.

The court heard the offences happened at the man’s Withers home in late 2016.

At the time, the victim had just turned 15 and the offender was 19.

On two occasions the man engaged in sexual conduct with the girl.

It wasn’t until the victim’s family found out about the second incident – which involved the pair having sex – that the matter was brought to the attention of police.

Counsel for the man referred to surveys which showed the average age Australian children started engaging in sexual intercourse was 14.

He said the age of consent did not “accord with the reality of what’s happening in society”.

At no time did the man force the girl to engage in sexual activity; there was no coercion.

But it was accepted the man knew what he was doing was illegal.

The judge said as far as the law was concerned, the victim was a child, and the man had taken advantage of her immaturity and vulnerability.

He said the offender’s moral culpability was reduced due to his own immaturity and young age.

The man was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 15 months.

He must undergo counselling and submit to program and supervision requirements.