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The man who attempted to rape his 5-year-old daughter has been sentenced to 17 years, 10 months and 10 days in prison.

Justice Brian Cottle on Thursday ordered that the sentences begin immediately, one month and 13 after the offender was convicted.

The man was convicted of three counts of attempted unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 13 and two counts of indecent assault of the same child.

On the first count, the judge sentenced the defendant to 13 years, 10 months and 17 days in prison.

He imposed that same sentence on each of the two subsequent counts but reduced each of them to two years in light of the totality principle and ordered that the sentences run consecutively.

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Justice Cottle further sentenced the man to three years in prison on each of the two counts of indecent assault and ordered that they run concurrent with each other and the longer sentence.

When asked immediately before the sentencing if he had anything to say, the defendant, who was represented by lawyer Carl Williams, said that he was “innocent”.

That was his position throughout the trial and on Monday when his lawyer mitigated on his behalf.

The man was also tried on three counts of rape in connection with his 7-year-old daughter but a jury failed to reach a verdict on any of these three counts, with four jurors finding the man guilty, four not guilty and one undecided. 

The facts, as presented by the judge, are that the 5-year-old lived with the defendant.

Sometimes in November 2021, the girl and two of her siblings were spending time with their father’s sister (the children’s aunt)

The aunt had cause to speak to the children about good and bad touch.

The girl then told her aunt that her father had touched her inappropriately.

The matter was reported to the police and the girl told the police that her father had instructed her to suck his penis twice and that she had done so.

The child further told the police that her father had attempted to have sex with her and the experiences had caused her to feel bad.

The child further told the police that her father had threatened to kill her if she said anything.

On each of the rape charges, the man faced a maximum of life in prison, a notional sentence of 30 years and five years for indecent assault.

The judge noted that the man was charged under a section of the law relating to a child under the age of 10, adding that the virtual complainant was 5 years old.

Justice Cottle placed the man’s crime at the highest level of seriousness and consequence.

The judge pointed to the age disparity, noting that the man was 41 and the girl was 5.

He said the defendant had abused a position of trust, adding that as a father, the expectation was that the man would protect the child from abuse and would not be her abuser.

The judge further said that the man had taken steps to convince the child not to report the offence.

On the attempted rape charge, the judge selected a starting point of 66.66% or 20 years in prison.

Aggravating of the offence was that the virtual complainant was particularly vulnerable as she was very young and her mother had left the home leaving only the child’s father to care for her and her siblings.

Mitigating of the offence was that there was no excessive or gratuitous violence meted out to the virtual complainant.

The court found nothing aggravating of the offender and mitigating was that he had no previous relevant convictions.

The judge said that the mitigating features outweighed the aggravating and moved the sentence down by six years to a notional sentence of 14 years.

The court subtracted from the sentence the one month and 13 days that the man spent on remand since his conviction on May 10.

The judge noted that each of the two other counts was committed on a different occasion. He said that because the facts are the same, the sentence would be the same on both of those counts.

He, however, reduced the second and third count of attempted rate to two years, taking into account the totality principle.

On the indecent assault charge, the judge established a starting point of 60% of the maximum or three years.

He said that the aggravating and mitigating features for both sets of offences are the same, and made no adjustment to the sentence.

On the indecent assault charges, the judge did not discount the time on remand, having done with the longer sentence.