Junior sports player who raped fellow teen has prison sentence wholly suspended by ACT Supreme Court


Key points:

  • The offender and victim were both 17 years old at the time of the assault
  • Justice David Mossop acknowledged the boy "did not pay attention to consent", but said sending someone to jail for a crime committed as a minor should be a last resort
  • The now-19-year-old received an 11-month sentence, 100 hours of community service and an 18-month good behaviour order

An elite junior sports player who raped a fellow teenager in the back of a car after an 18th birthday party will not spend time behind bars.

The ACT Supreme Court found the now-19-year-old man guilty of two counts of sexual intercourse without consent and one count of indecency over the attack when both he and the victim were 17 years old.

The teenager was handed an 11-month suspended sentence and an 18-month good behaviour order on Tuesday. He will also serve 100 hours of community service.

During the sentencing hearing, the victim looked her offender in the eyes as she told the court her life had unravelled since she was raped in 2018.

She said she was "so angry" that the man was progressing his sporting career while she suffered.

"Despite what both you and I knew you did," she said.

The court accepted that the girl had repeatedly said no to oral sex and then to sexual penetration and that the boy continued until she stopped resisting, turned her head and cried.

The court heard the assault occurred when the pair were parked at an oval after the girl had driven her car to pick the offender up from an 18th birthday party.

"For two years I felt weak, worthless and embarrassed," the teenager said in her victim impact statement.

"It made me feel disgusting, it hurt and I felt indescribably sick, like no one should have need to feel, but that was nothing compared to the emotional roller coaster of the next two years."

Both her parents spoke in voices choking back emotion as they told the court how the incident had transformed their daughter's personality and sunny optimism.

"2018 was meant to be one of the most exciting years in my daughter's life," her mother said.

"She was set to graduate from high school and celebrate her 18th birthday — something she had planned for years. That did not happen because of you.

Instead of celebrating her final year of school, the then-17-year-old suffered severe anxiety and depression, dropped out of her studies, self-harmed and been hospitalised three times since the incident, her mother said.

The mother told the court her daughter's attempts to live a normal life and go out with her friends frequently ended at home in tears, "crying herself to sleep to the point where she was hyperventilating".

In a shaking voice the girl's father told the offender, "finding my daughter trying to kill herself because of what you did you her, that feeling I will never forget".

'Did not pay attention to consent'

The court also heard from the offender's father, who said his son also suffered anxiety, had become shy and was afraid to socialise or form relationships with women.

The 19-year old's father said his son did not want to continue playing sport as a result of the incident.

He said the family had encouraged him to continue with his sporting career.

The man's father told the court his family had been subject to violent threats from the victim's father and that his son had been shunned as a result of the situation going "viral".

The court also heard the offender, who pleaded not guilty, had been unable to coach sport since the event after losing his Working with Vulnerable People registration.

Handing down his reasons for the sentence, Justice David Mossop said the offender had been, "at the least, reckless to consent", but noted he was also satisfied that the offender did not persist when it became clear to him that the victim was upset to the point of tears.

He said jailing someone for a crime committed as a minor should be a last resort.

"Clearly the offender did not pay attention to consent … that is a matter of fundamental importance as far as the law is concerned."

He ruled the 19-year-old should not be listed on a register of sexual offenders for the remainder of his life.

The judge said the offence had occurred in the context of an ongoing relationship where sexual activity that did not include intercourse was present between two 17-year-olds.

"I consider it would be inappropriate to include the offender on the register given his age and that there is no indication of inappropriate behaviour with children," Justice Mossop said.

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