A Northern Rivers man has been sentenced over failing to report information required by police under the Child Protection Act.
A Northern Rivers man has been sentenced over failing to report information required by police under the Child Protection Act. Marc Stapelberg

Child sex offender didn't tell cops about online dating

A MAN who sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl has been handed a good behaviour bond after twice breaching orders made against him.

Gilletts Ridge man Warwick James Lee, 43, faced Ballina Local Court on Tuesday afternoon charged with two counts of failing to comply with reporting obligations.

Lee was released on parole last May after being convicted of a range of child-related offences, including the aggravated sexual assault of the young girl.

He had spent close to five years in prison.

Upon his release, he was given a range of requirements under the Child Protection Act, but breached them twice.

The court heard he failed to inform police he was using an online dating site until 85 days after he began accessing it.

He waited 34 days to tell police he had regular access to his new partner's two children, including a weekend away in Bangalow in December last year.

Both should have been reported within seven days.

According to court documents, Lee sent his new partner a "smile" on the dating site on October 10 last year.

The court heard he had numerous phone conversations with police in which he could have reported his use of internet dating and his access to the children, but he didn't detail these until he met with police on January 2 this year.

His lawyer Philip Mulherin told the court Mr Lee had misunderstood the terms of his reporting time limits during one of the phone conversations.

He said Lee, a harvesting contractor, had been working in Western NSW and believed the police officer told him to bring documents to cover his reporting requirements "when he next came in" to Grafton Police Station.

The prosecution said no such direction had been made.

Mr Mulherin said there was some "difference of opinion" after a police officer wasn't able to keep an appointment Mr Lee had with him.

"He was away from Grafton," Mr Mulherin said.

"It was something he realised he had to tell (police) about."

When they did meet up on January 2, Mr Mulherin said Lee was forthcoming with the information he was overdue to report.

"He voluntarily provides the information about the dating site and also the contact with the children," he said.

He acknowledged the "straw that broke the camel's back" was Lee's "significant delay" in reporting.

Mr Lee had previously pleaded guilty to both breaches.

Magistrate Jeff Linden said the onus was "on the person who's registered" under the Child Protection Act to ensure they report properly.

He noted that "nothing has arisen" from the reporting breaches and convicted Lee of each offence.

Lee was sentenced to a 12 month good behaviour bond.



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