20-year-old convicted of sex crime in Gympie CBD
A 20-year-old Gympie man who unlawfully had sex with a girl six years younger in an "opportunistic" crime at the city's main street will spend the next nine months with the threat of jail hanging over his head.
Crown prosecutor Katrina Overell told Gympie District Court yesterday the man, then 19, and the victim, aged 13 at the time, knew each other through mutual friends.
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On an unknown date in the June school holidays last year, the victim was with a group of friends at the Gympie skate park when the man joined them.
When one of her other friends was called home at 6pm the man offered to walk the victim to the Mary St amphitheatre
After they sat and chatted for about 20 minutes he took her by the wrist, walked her to secluded spot behind the stairs, pulled down his pants and penetrated her.
Ms Overell said the victim did not look him in the eyes during the crime
Her family and friends found out after the girl complained about it on Snapchat, and it was reported to police.
The crime had a "significant" emotional impact on the girl, Ms Overell said, and she became the target of bullies.
In September a mutual friend confronted the man about the incident when she encountered him at Club 88.
Ms Overell told the court the man said he felt "really bad and regretted it" and voluntarily handed himself in.
His lawyer, Jacob Robson, said the man suffered from developmental disadvantages, lived with his father, and had been undergoing counselling.
"He doesn't think things through as well as he could, and doesn't understand consequences," Mr Robson told the court.
Judge Gary Long said the man's intellectual disadvantages, detailed in a psychological report, were relevant to understanding the six year age gap between the man and his victim.
Mr Long also noted the charge - unlawful carnal knowledge with a child under 16 - did not contain "an allegation of absence of consent" but the victim was "not in any way enthusiastic about what was occurring".
The man's actions were "opportunistic", he said, and he had "taken advantage of the vulnerability of this girl".
He sentenced the 20-year-old to nine months jail
However, as the man had no previous criminal history and the "exceptional circumstances' of his intellectual impairment, Mr Long ordered it be served by way of an intensive correction order instead of time behind bars.