A judge has been criticised for arguing it was “understandable” a 31-year-old man had sex with a “nubile” 14-year-old girl because “he’s not made of steel”.
Judge Christopher Ryan did not jail Franco Abad, and instead sentenced the security guard to a two-year good behaviour bond in May.
A Supreme Court chief in Australia has since said the sentence was “manifestly inadequate” and branded the judge’s comments as “inappropriate”.
“The sentence was underpinned by observations as to the victim’s presentation and behaviour, demonstrating that irrelevant matters contributed to the manifest inadequacy,” said Justice Marilyn Warren.
“The judge inappropriately and mistakenly took account of irrelevant matters, namely the attitude, demeanour, conduct and nobility of the victim and the effect she had on the respondent.
“I would observe that the observations made by the judge about the complainant and the descriptions applied were inappropriate, irrelevant and should not have been made.”
Melbourne Children’s Court guard Abad met the 14-year-old, who was in the care of social services, after they shared a cigarette outside the court in July last year.
As is explained in the court judgment, seen by The Independent, she told him she was 17 and they had sex multiple times over a six-week period
But after police warned him she was lying, they had sex once more, and this last occasion was the only incident he was charged over.
He was found guilty by a jury of one count of sexual penetration of a child under 16 and placed on the sexual offenders’ register for 15 years.
“He’s resolved he’s not going to have any more to do with her,” said Judge Ryan.
“And then he goes to bed and at an indefinite time thereafter he’s joined in bed by a nubile young woman.
“The human aspect of it is readily understandably … Well, he’s not made of steel.”
Under a good behaviour order, the defendant walks free from court, but will live under various conditions, which might include counselling.
The Victorian Court of Appeal case by the Director of Public Prosecutions however, for a harsher sentence, was dismissed on Tuesday because the DPP admitted the offending was still at the “very low” end of the scale.Reuse content