Victim girl, 14 not 'completely naive' judge says
A JUDGE has questioned the naivety of a 14-year-old girl who performed a sex act on a man in exchange for him buying her alcohol.
Bradley Alexander Howard appeared in the District Court at Gladstone last week on several charges, including indecent treatment of a child under 16 - procure to commit, indecent treatment of a child under 16 and supplying a dangerous drug (marijuana).
Howard, 20, pleaded guilty to the offences he committed as an 18-year-old on April 22, 2017.
Crown prosecutor Jacqueline Ball read out the details of the offending, which involved Howard asking for and receiving sexual favours from the girl in exchange for the purchase of alcohol.
However Ms Ball was pulled up several times by Judge Michael Burnett, who said although it did not excuse Howard's behaviour, there was "context" behind the offending.
"14-15-year-old-girls can be much more emotionally matured than 18-year-old boys," Mr Burnett said.
"14 going on 15-year-old girls who can't procure alcohol themselves, so they go to an 18-year-old to buy it for them, I'm not excusing his behaviour but there needs to be context."
The court was told Howard was contacted by a 14-year-old and asked if he could buy her and two other friends alcohol.
When the girl told Howard they didn't have any money he requested a sexual favour in return, the court was told.
Ms Ball told the court Howard drove the girls to a "secluded" area where two girls got out of the car. The victim stayed, undressed and laid in the back of the car. Howard attempted to have sex with her but instead asked the victim to perform an oral sex act.
The court was told Howard did not supply the marijuana to the girls but provided the money and transport to the pick-up point.
The offending was reported after the victim told her mother about it. The victim's mother reported it to police.
Judge Burnett said Howard's behaviour was criminal however, "one of those cases on the threshold".
He said he couldn't imagine a 14-year-old getting undressed in the back of a boy's car unless that girl was already comfortable with the man or the act.
"No doubt, the boy's behaviour - there is a wickedness about it - but once they get over that, these events happen consensually, she is not naive about what is going on."
Howard received a two-year probation order subject to psychiatric testing. A conviction was not recorded.