Child sex offender in court for breaching protection orders
A REGISTERED child sex offender, who went on camping trips with his young son and best friend and failed to report changes of address and new phone numbers, has faced Grafton District Court where he was sentenced for breaching child protection orders.
The 55-year-old man, who can't be identified for legal reasons, appeared in court after pleading guilty to a number of charges including failing to comply with reporting conditions and contravening a child protection prohibition order.
He was placed on the child protection order for life after previous convictions for aggravated indecent assault and act of indecent to a person under 16 in 1997, and for committing an act of indecency with a person under 16 and indecent assault of a person under 10 in 2011.
According to agreed facts on May 10 last year the man signed a Child Protection Prohibition Order that had conditions including he reside at a specified address, only have one phone number, no internet access and not join any clubs or organisations.
On September 27 police attended the address and spoke to his daughter, who told police he no longer lived there. Police investigated the address given to them by the daughter and after initially claiming his daughter had mental health issues and gave police the wrong information the man admitted he had moved to care for his 89-year-old father.
On November 29 the man was pulled over by police in a car connected to a trailer containing household furniture. Police inspected his phone and found it had internet access, and a search of his wallet revealed a membership card to a Coffs Harbour club.
Further investigations revealed he had contact with the best friend of his son, and would go on camping trips for up to five days at a time with his son and son's best friend, and that had been ongoing for up to four years.
Police also found he had also resided at another address, where his son had friends visit for sleep-overs.
In Grafton District Court last week the man's defence representative said his client didn't take into account all of the requirements of the prohibition order, and just signed the form and put it away.
His lawyer said his client was unaware of all the restrictions the prohibition order included, but conceded it was up to the courts to show there was a need for the legislation to be enforced for the protection of the community.
In sentencing the man Judge Payne said each offence was a serious example of behaviour contrary to the prohibition order and were not opportunistic or in isolation, and said he showed no clear remorse apart from an early guilty plea to the charges.
The man was sentenced to three years behind bars, with a non-parole period of 21 months. He will be eligible for release on August 28 next year.