Man to serve 5 months for repeatedly raping young cousin
WARNING: This story contains disturbing content.
A GLADSTONE man will spend five months in prison after the horrific details of his repeated rape and indecent treatment of his young cousins were revealed in Gladstone District Court yesterday.
The man, who is now an adult and cannot be named for legal reasons, committed the crimes some years ago when he was aged 13-16.
The charges, to which he pleaded guilty on Monday, included five counts of rape and three counts of indecent treatment of a child under 12.
The victim of the rapes was a young female cousin, aged 8-11 at the time of the offences.
He anally raped her twice on one occasion in front of her brother, telling her to shut up and not to tell anyone.
On another occasion he raped her after taking a video game of hers and telling her she would not get it back unless she did as he wanted.
The indecent treatment charges related to the presence of her brother during the first rape, as well as another occasion when he masturbated in front of the younger boy.
The last of the eight offences occurred when he touched his female cousin indecently in a pool, after which she told him to stop or she would tell someone.
He later confronted her in a bathroom and held her head under water in the bathtub as a threat.
The man also pleaded guilty to a ninth charge of using electronic communications to procure a child under 16, after exchanging messages with and receiving pictures from a 14-year-old girl when he was 18.
Defence barrister Jordan Ahlstrand asked judge Craig Chowdhury to impose a wholly suspended sentence on his client, drawing attention to a brain injury he said would make his client intensely vulnerable in prison.
But Judge Chowdhury said there were plenty of people with mental health issues in the care of correctional services, and he would not be fulfilling his duties to the community due to the nature of the offences if he did not ensure the defendant spent time in prison.
He said the man's cousins should have been able to expect a level of love and affection from an older relative, but were instead subjected to repeated sexual exploitation.
As members of the man's family wept in court, Judge Chowdhury sentenced him to three years in prison, suspended after five months, for the two most serious rape offences.
He noted because those offences were committed when the defendant was 13-16, the sentence could not legally exceed the equivalent of what it would have been had he faced trial as a child.
He also sentenced the man to a combination of two-year (suspended after five months) and five-month sentences for the remainder of the offences, to be served concurrently, plus three years of probation.
A tenth charge of unlawful carnal knowledge of a child under 16 was dropped at the start of the hearing, and the man's earlier guilty plea vacated, after a witness informed the court she had falsified a claim.
Judge Chowdhury called the development "quite concerning".