Judge defends sentencing of man in child prostitution case saying he won’t take into account public opinion
Another Queensland judge has taken a swipe at the state government as he sentenced a pedophile to what is likely to be less than two years in prison.
With Premier Campbell Newman calling on the judiciary to hand out tough sentences in accordance with what he says are the public’s wishes, District Court Judge Milton Griffin warned the government to stay out of court affairs.
Judge Griffin said the 68-year-old pedophile’s crimes were “truly disgusting” but, taking into account the man is in remission for cancer and pleaded guilty early, gave him a five-year jail sentence to be suspended after 20 months.
The man was a regular customer of a Thai child forced into prostitution by her mother from the age of nine.
Judge Griffin said he wanted to make it absolutely clear the sentence was not affected by “any consideration of what it might be said the public of Queensland want” following controversial new laws designed to keep bikies and sex offenders in prison longer.
“Judges won’t be affected by what the public of Queensland want and to do so would be contrary to the oath of office,” he said.
“Those who suggest otherwise are effectively suggesting a judge discard the oath of office and to commit such behavior would require removal from office.
“Those who would attempt to persuade judges (to sentence based on) public opinion may well be in contempt of court.”
The court heard the mother brought the girl to Brisbane and the man was her best customer for more than 12 months when she was 15 to 16.
He’d also had sexual contact with her a handful of times over the period when she was 11 to 13.
The court heard the teen was forced to dance naked and perform oral sex on the former truck driver during weekly meetings.
If the man was unsatisfied, the teen would be punished by having her wages docked or being forced to perform for longer.
Prosecutor Shauna Rankine said the man bought the girl thousands of dollars’ worth of gifts and said he loved her, but the teen was disgusted by him and called him “pedo” in her diary.
The girl’s mother has already been sentenced to seven years in prison.
Judge Griffin said another co-accused, who was sentenced in May this year, was jailed for seven years after maintaining a much longer unlawful relationship with the child, which started when she was aged nine.
But he said the man’s offending was “calculated” and “degrading” and warranted significant punishment.
“What is serious about your behavior with the child is the special relationship you maintained with her, over and above that promoted by the mother,” Judge Griffin said.
He said he would reduce the head sentence in order to reflect the man’s ill-health and the fact he had not engaged with the child at a young age like the other clients had.
He ordered the man’s jail term be suspended after 20 months served and took into account 141-days of pre-sentence custody.