Man jailed for having sex with drunk, under-age girl

TWO men found guilty of having sex with two drunk under-age girls after a Toowoomba party have been placed in custody.

Antoni Butoyi and Melipo Muyobi had each pleaded not guilty to rape arising from the incident on the night of January 24 last year.

After a week-long trial, a Toowoomba District Court jury of eight women and four men acquitted both men of rape but found them guilty of unlawful carnal knowledge (UCK).

The trial heard the girls, aged 14 and 15 respectively at the time, had met the two men, both in their early 20s, at the party and all had become friendly.

All had been drinking alcohol at the party after which the four went to Butoyi's home, Crown prosecutor Shontelle Petrie told the court.

The girls admitted to consensual hugging but told police they had both rejected the men's advances for sex and had repeatedly said "no" and "stop" but the men had persisted anyway.

The girls went to police the next day.

Judge Craig Chowdhury found that the girls had not consented to the sex but that he was satisfied in such circumstances the defendants may have been of the honest but mistaken belief that the girls were in fact consenting.

Barrister David Jones, for Butoyi, asked for an adjournment of his client's sentencing so he could obtain a psychological report.

Judge Chowdhury adjourned that sentence to a date to be fixed and remanded Butoyi in custody.

Barrister Janice Crawford, for Myuobi, told the could at the time of the incident her client had been separated from his partner but they had since reconciled and she had attended the trial.

The couple was expecting a third child in November, she said.

Her client had endured a traumatic upbringing having been born in Republic of the Congo from where his family fled the war.

The family had spent nine years in a Tanzanian refugee camp before obtaining a visa to come to Australia in 2010.

Before the trial started, her client had offered to plead guilty to a charge of unlawful carnal knowledge but was always going to contest the more serious charge of rape, she said.

Judge Chowdhury said anyone convicted of a child sex offence was expected to serve actual prison time unless there were "exceptional circumstances".

However, His Honour said he was not satisfied exceptional circumstances existed in this case despite Myuobi's "traumatic" background, his family circumstances and that he had offered before the trial to plead guilty to the charge of which he was ultimately found guilty.

Judge Chowdhury sentenced Myuobi to 10 months in jail with no recommendation for parole.