No conviction for dad who asked to touch 8-year-old girl

A MACKAY father of two has avoided a conviction for repeatedly asking an eight-year-old girl if he could touch her genitals.

He'd been drinking on the night he'd entered the room where the girl was sleeping, shaken her awake and asked her while his own daughter slept nearby.

He pleaded guilty today in the District Court in Mackay to one count of attempted indecent treatment of a child under 12.

The man's wife had been employed by the victim's parents and the offending occurred in November while on a trip away.

Crown prosecutor Elizabeth Kelso said the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had told the girl to keep it between them and not tell her parents, but she did.

The court was told the man, then 43, had attempted to blame the victim for his actions by saying earlier she'd touched his penis while swimming.

On another occasion he'd also denied any knowledge of the incident before finally making admissions, Ms Kelso said.

Ms Kelso pointed out there was a 35-year-age disparity between the victim and defendant.

She accepted it was an early plea of guilty, which had saved the cost of a trial and the victim from having to give evidence.

Defence barrister Bronwyn Hartigan, for Morton Lawyers, said the man's behaviour could be described as an "isolated incident".

The man had taken steps towards his rehabilitation by embarking on counselling as early as four days after the incident.

Ms Hartigan said the nature of the incident was at the lower end for this type of offending. He'd been gainfully employed for 15 years with the same company.

As a result of this incident, the man and his wife had separated.

Ms Hartigan said the man had shown remorse through a letter he wrote to the victim, within which he made admissions.

She requested Judge Julie Dick not record a conviction against the man saying it would have financial and social impacts on him.

Ms Hartigan said these were exceptional circumstances and that Judge Dick could exercise her discretion and not record a conviction.

It was with "some hesitation" that Judge Dick said she agreed with Ms Hartigan's submissions after "having balanced all the features" of the case.

The man was placed on 12 months probation and a conviction was not recorded.



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