Man jailed for indecent treatment of his 11-year-old niece

A YOUNG Gympie region man's indecent treatment of his 11-year-old niece would have unpredictable long-term effects as she grew up sexually, a District Court judge said yesterday.

It was one of three substantial cases dealt with in the court yesterday.

Judge G Long was sentencing the man to jail, after a jury returned its verdict of guilty on two counts of indecency.

The young man, who cannot be named because it would identify the complainant, yesterday went to jail for at least six months.

The rest of his 12-month sentence will be suspended for an operational period of two years, during which time he will face re-sentencing if he commits any further offences punishable by imprisonment in that time.

Jury deliberations began late on Thursday after prosecution and defence final addresses and the verdict was returned late yesterday afternoon.

Judge Long said the man's not guilty plea meant a child had been required to give evidence.

The girl had suffered the damage to formerly close family relationships following her complaint and this would have ongoing effects.

"The real impact will come from divisions in the family and it is not known what other impacts she will experience, especially in sexual matters, as she matures," the judge said.

He said one offence involved the man, then aged between 21 and 22, touching the girl briefly in the genital area on the outside of her underclothes.

The second offence of which the man was convicted yesterday involved touching her breast area, "under the guise of showing her photos on a device."

Judge Long said the offences were "momentary and opportunistic."

He told the man that what made the offences egregious acts was the age of the victim and "the general level of trust placed in you to look after her best interests."

He also took into account the fact that the man was now in a position in life with a partner and was in full time employment.

He noted that there was "no mitigation for an early plea, saving a child from having to give evidence."

In a separate matter before the court, the judge sentenced David Raymond Buckley, 31, of Nerang, to 21 months jail, with parole release from March 11, after Buckley pleaded guilty to "relatively low street level" offences involving the supply of small quantities of methamphetamine.

But he took account of Buckley's criminal record and the fact that the offences were committed while he was subject to court orders from earlier offences.

Buckley had shown "clean tests" recently and had made "commendable efforts" to change, as well as co-operating with police and giving an early guilty plea.

But he said "offences in regard to such a pernicious drug have to be regarded by the courts as being of some seriousness."

Gympie Times

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