MP’s sex-offending son spared jail time because of dwarfism
A QUEENSLAND MP's son, convicted of child sex offences, has been spared time behind bars because of his dwarfism and related toiletry needs.
Daniel James Knuth used a fake Facebook profile to engage in sexual conversations with 27 young girls, pressuring some to send him naked photographs and becoming abusing to several girls who refused to comply.
The 22-year-old son of Katter's Australian Party Member for Hill Shane Knuth, pleaded guilty to 35 child sex offences including using internet to procure a child, involving children in making child exploitation material and possessing child exploitation material.
Daniel Knuth was born with dwarfism and has had to undergo 17 surgeries throughout his life, including a procedure to address severe curvature of his back which left him with limited flexibility.
This lack of flexibility, combined with his short limbs in comparison to his torso has seen the child sex offender unable to wipe his own backside.
Townsville District Court Judge Greg Lynham had concerns about the hardship Daniel Knuth would have been exposed to in prison when the matter was first set for sentence in December 2018.
A report from the management of the Townsville Correctional Centre expressed concerns around Daniel Knuth's toiletry requirements should he be incarcerated.
"If he was an able bodied offender there is simply no question at all that he'd be going to jail and going to jail for quite some time," Judge Lynham said.
"I think the biggest issue and it's made clear - simply put there is no one to attend to Mr Knuth's toileting needs."
The court heard Daniel Knuth's mother and grandmother assisted him with his hygiene on a day-to-day basis but that level of support would not be available in prison.
There was also concern from prison management regarding special bedding, designed to ease Daniel Knuth's pain, would not be available in prison.
Bullying was also a consideration with staff at the Townsville Correctional Centre noting Daniel Knuth would likely be picked on by other inmates.
Judge Lynham labelled the case as "sad" and "pathetic" in many ways, noting Daniel Knuth never had a girlfriend and likely never would.
Judge Lynham said he had to take into account all of the circumstances when sentencing Daniel Knuth to four years jail, immediately wholly suspended for a period of five years.
Daniel Knuth was also placed on a three year probation order which will see him undergo counselling and have regular contact with probation officers.
Outside court Shane Knuth said his son had done "the wrong thing" but he would always love him.
He said he was emotional when Judge Lynham said his son would likely never have a girlfriend.
"You always want the best for your children … we would like to see him have a girlfriend," Shane Knuth said.
"Daniel has acknowledged that he has used the internet inappropriately, he is very remorseful."