Tuesday 20 August 2019

Man jailed for 'evil deed' of sexually assaulting niece (10)

(Stock image)
(Stock image)

Ralph Riegel

A man who sexually assaulted his 10-year-old niece has been jailed for four years after a judge warned that the "tentacles of evil deeds" reach out very far.

The man - who cannot be named to protect his victim - has still refused to accept the verdict of a Circuit Criminal Court jury, which convicted him of the offence by an 11-1 majority verdict last January.

The middle-aged man also cannot have his profession identified by order of the trial judge.

His employer has already commenced proceedings to have him dismissed.

He had a number of awards as part of his three-decade career which, the court heard, is now set to end in shame.

The judge said the offence had a catastrophic impact on everyone involved.

"The effect of what happened... might be the equivalent of explosives being detonated within the family," he said.

"For some people the crime of murder does not have the same odium as the crime of molesting a child."

The judge said the breach of trust involved was very significant.

He acknowledged that the defendant already faced grave punishment for the offence in both his personal life and career.

The court was told the offender's wife has not spoken to him since he was convicted of sexually assaulting her niece last January - and he has not seen his own children since then.

His wife is now separated from him.

He is living with an elderly relative in a different county, having found it impossible to keep living within his own community.

Submissions were also made that the man has since been shunned and ostracised by members of his family, his friends, his neighbours and his colleagues.

The man asked to be remanded in custody on May 8 last to await sentencing after saying that his life was now "absolute hell."

The court heard he has also been targeted in prison.

The judge was told the little girl involved came from a loving, supportive and tight-knit family.

However, the sexual assault and the horrendous breach of trust it involved had a significant impact on both her and the entire family.

"When evil deeds are done, the tentacles reach out very far," he said.

The trial judge made a point of paying tribute to the bravery of the child.

"I am very impressed with the evidence given by [the girl] and with her bravery," he said.

"To go through a process like this is far from easy, even for an adult."

During the trial, the court heard the girl had travelled with her mother and her grandparents to the home of the defendant and his wife, the girl's aunt.

The adults went to a function on November 26, 2016 while the girl stayed in with the man's own young son and a babysitter.

However, the man left the family gathering early to go home in the early hours of November 27 and to allow the babysitter to leave.

The court heard he went into the bedroom where the girl was staying.

He sexually assaulted her in the bedroom.

The girl said her uncle came into the bedroom where she was sleeping and rubbed her inappropriately.

The accused man had vehemently denied the charge.

The girl's father told the court his distraught wife rang him the next morning to tell him what their daughter had said.

He immediately travelled to the man's home and confronted him.

The defendant said "Oh God no, no", when it was put to him that he had touched the girl inappropriately.

When later confronted about the allegations by his employer, he had insisted all the claims were "lies".

He later claimed that the girl involved was "a good kid, but a compulsive liar".

“I wouldn’t harm a hair on her head,” he said.

He insisted he had had an “excellent relationship” with the girl.

“This has destroyed me,” he said.

The judge imposed a seven-year prison sentence but suspended the final three years.

He directed that the man receive psychiatric treatment while in custody.

On his release, he must continue to receive psychiatric support and must also refrain from both alcohol and drugs.

The man is already listed on the Sex Offenders Register.

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