COURT: Childlike rapist and child who would not complain
A YOUNG Gympie man with intellectual difficulties was possibly not that much more mature than hi 11-year-old girlfriend, but a judge said this did not excuse offences of grooming and rape.
"No 11-year-old can be that precocious, to the point of understanding what she is getting into," Judge Glen Cash said in sentencing the young man, now 21, in Gympie District Court.
But the rape offence was not only based on her inability to give lawful consent.
Although the girl had refused to co-operate with police or make a complaint, witness testimony was that she was upset after the two had sex and had not wanted it to happen.
She had cried and asked a third person camping with them to stop him if it happened again.
"Ordinarily the difference between 19 and 11 is substantial, but in terms of intellectual function, you and the complainant were closer than might otherwise appear," the judge told the young man, who pleaded guilty to grooming the girl through extensive mobile phone calls and text messages as well as on Facebook.
The court was told the two had begun a "boyfriend-girlfriend" relationship at some time in August, 2016.
The court was told the young man called the girl on her mobile "at various times daily."
"On 17 occasions he phoned her more than 10 times a day and on one day made 43 phone calls to her," the court was told.
He was on the phone to her for more than three hours on one day and on 19 occasions he had messaged her more than 10 times a day, sending a total of 65 text messages to her, many telling her that he loved her.
In agreed facts presented to the court, the judge was told that the girl was reported missing on August 30, 2016 and police found her at Southside, where she told them she had spent the night at the racecourse with friends.
Concerned for her welfare, police on September 5 had found her at a Mary River campsite with other young people.
One person present said he saw the two having sex and heard her telling him to stop.
The witness said she was very upset.
Later she had attended a doctor with her mother, to receive a contraceptive implant and he had phoned her to say he wanted them to have a baby together.
The court was told they each said they loved each other.
He told police he thought she was 17, even though he had been told her age, the court was told.
Judge Cash sentenced the young man to five years jail for rape, suspended from Thursday for an operational period of five years, taking into account 675 days the young man had already served in custody from September 26, 2016.
He also placed the young man on three years probation, with counselling and medical, psychiatric or psychological counselling as required.