Man had sex with under-aged girls
A 21-year-old Bridgetown man who had sexual intercourse with two girls under the age of 16, including one who was intoxicated and “vulnerable” at a party, has received a suspended jail term.
The man appeared in Bunbury District Court on Monday when he pleaded guilty to two counts sexually penetrating a child under 16.
In January 2017 the man — who was 19 at the time — was friends and “hung out on a regular basis” with a 15-year-old girl before they engaged in consensual intercourse two weeks before her 16th birthday. The man did not use protection and the two continued with a sexual relationship past the girl’s birthday.
Further in October, 2017, the then 20-year-old man was at a party where a 14-year-old girl known to him also attended and started drinking.
The girl became depressed at the party and the man — described as “heavily intoxicated” — attempted to comfort her. The girl asked the man to have intercourse with her and he agreed, the court was told.
State prosecutor Caja Polglase said the first incident was “objectively less serious” but argued that the second warranted an immediate jail term.
Ms Polglase said one witness described the girl at the party as so intoxicated, she was swaying and unable to stand still and the man knew how old she was and her vulnerable state. Defence lawyer Michael Devlin said while it was no excuse, the man was an excessive drinker of alcohol.
Mr Devlin said the man had gained insight while in prison and realised he was heavily involved with alcohol that was “clouding any judgments and right-minded thinking”.
“He should have been the adult in the equation. He wasn’t, he didn’t and clearly he now regrets that,” Mr Devlin said.
Judge Alan Troy said the man “exploited the vulnerability of an immature victim” in the second incident but he was satisfied he was “highly unlikely” to re-offend.
“I take the view that your insight, generally speaking, and your remorse is genuine,” Judge Troy said.
The man was sentenced to 15 months jail, suspended for 15 months with program and supervision requirements.
Judge Troy stressed that a “fundamental rationale” for suspending the sentence was the fact the man had already spent eight months in custody.