A FORMER sporting coach from a small community in the Albury region has had jail sentences imposed for grooming and indecent assault on a teenage girl reduced to suspended sentences.
The man, 25, was successful in a severity appeal yesterday to the District Court in Albury over the 20-month jail term, with a minimum of 15 months, given by magistrate Megan Greenwood earlier this year.
But Judge Peter Whitford said his varying of the penalties was aimed at continuing the man’s efforts towards rehabilitation.
“He has extensive support within his family and his community,” Judge Whitford said.
Barrister Christine Mendes suggested a suspended sentence as one of three sentencing options and said: “It appears his conduct to a large degree is an aberration.”
Director of Public Prosecutions representative Andrew Hanshaw said there was a need for general deterrence and the public viewed such offences with abhorrence.
Mr Hanshaw said the man had shown no insight into the impact of very serious matters.
Ms Greenwood had imposed an aggregate sentence of 20 months when she sentenced the man in July on charges of grooming and indecent assault on a girl under 16.
She outlined in Albury Local Court the impact of the offences on the girl, who was 14 when they took place last year.
“The victim has done absolutely nothing wrong,” Ms Greenwood said.
But in a victim impact statement she said she felt judged and blamed, with her reputation having been ruined.
Ms Greenwood said a pre-sentence report indicated the man had shown little insight or remorse for his offending.
She was told in tendered facts the man and the victim knew each other within the local community.
Over a period of several months, the man was sending text messages to her, which became sexually explicit after some time, with the suggestion of them developing a relationship.
There were repeated requests for various forms of sexual activity.
He arranged a meeting by mobile phone with the girl for about August 27 and had rubbed his hands over her breasts and vagina.
In another incident, he had run his hands over her hips and kissed her on the cheek.
The victim’s father examined her phone in early September and saw a significant number of messages between his daughter and the man.
The victim attended the Albury police child abuse squad office on September 11; was interviewed and disclosed what had taken place.
Police contacted the man, who attended the Albury station and was arrested.
He declined to answer questions on the advice of his solicitor.