Child sex offences by Australians in Foreign Countries

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What is Child sex offences by Australians in Foreign Countries ?

Sexual offences committed within Australia and child sex tourism is a Commonwealth offence and is dealt with in section 272.8 of the Criminal Code 1995 (CTH) Act.

When prosecuting persistent sexual abuse, it is not even necessary for the prosecution to prove dates or exact circumstances of the offence. As long as the period in which the offence was committed can be identified with “reasonable particularity” and the nature of the crime can be described, the charge can be proved.

The judge or jury does not have to be satisfied that the events took place on particular days or in a particular order, as long as they are satisfied that three such instances took place.

Australian laws are tough on those who have planned to engage in child sexual abuse overseas but have not yet committed the crime.

Police have the power to intervene before the alleged offender has even left Australia. “Grooming” a child to later engage in sexual activity outside Australia is punishable by prison for 12 years.

The offence is committed if the defendant groomed a person under 16 years, or believed the person they were attempting to groom was under 16 years. The person they may have been grooming does not even have to be a real person.

This is important because it means that the offence is still committed if a detective or police officer poses as a child to catch sex offenders.

Mistaken belief about the age of the child is a defence – if the offender believed the person to be at least 16 at the time, they will not have committed an offence. However, it is up to the defence to prove that this was their belief at the time and the judge or jury can take into account whether this mistake was reasonable or not.

Offences involving a young person: Having sexual intercourse with a young person (aged between 16 and 18) overseas with a person over whom the offender has a position of trust or authority is also punishable by 10 years in jail.

There is no distinction in offence between sexually abusing a very young child and a teenager, although this may be reflected in sentencing.

Over 30 people have been charged with a child sex tourism offence since the introduction of legislation in 1994, which is fairly high by international standards, although amounts to less than two a year. About 70% of the cases prosecuted resulted in conviction.

If you are charged with the offence of Child Sex Offences by Australians in Foreign Countries what are your options?

National Criminal Lawyers are the best Sexual Assault Lawyers Sydney has to offer and our Sex Offence Lawyers Parramatta and elsewhere have been successful in defending a number of Child Sex Offences where the prosecution could not establish each of the elements of Child Sex Offences.

NCL offer the following options for those who have been charged with Child Sex Offences;

  1. We will negotiate with prosecutors (police or DPP) (a term referred to as “plea negotiations”) to request that the charge is withdrawn, downgraded or fact sheets amended;
  2. NCL will Plead Not Guilty and go to hearing/trial and persuade the Court that prosecution has not proven its case beyond reasonable doubt;
  3. Plead guilty to the elements of the charge and then dispute the facts (at a special “disputed facts” hearing) with the view of having you sentenced less harshly; and/or
  4. Plead guilty with full acceptance of the facts as set out by the police and make strong submissions on your behalf requesting that the Court not record a criminal conviction.

Pleading Guilty

If you agree that you have committed the offence and the police are able to prove all the elements of the offence, it is best to plead guilty at an early opportunity to receive the maximum discount. Currently the maximum discount available for an early plea of guilty is 25% of the sentence.

Furthermore, the early guilty plea shows the Court that you have remorse and contrition for your actions.

Our Sex Offence Lawyers Parramatta and elsewhere where National Criminal Lawyers operate work closely with you to ensure that we obtain all necessary paper work to get you the best result.

Maximum Penalties

The penalties differ depending on the offence committed, with the most serious offences coming with a maximum 25 years imprisonment.

Sexual intercourse:

The penalties for engaging in sexual intercourse with a child under 16 years outside Australia is 20 years in prison. It is also an offence to cause the child to have sex with someone else in the presence of the defendant. This crime is also punishable by 20 years in jail.

Sexual activity not including intercourse:

Engaging in any sexual activity with a child under 16 other than sexual intercourse carries a jail term of 15 years.

These offences are ones of ‘absolute liability.’ This means that there are no fault elements that must be proved – it is enough that the act was committed, and there is no defence of mistake.

For example, if the person engaging in sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old overseas believed the person to be 16, they are still guilty of an offence.

Engaging in sexual activity in front of a child: It is also an offence to have sex in front of a child if the intention is for the offender to derive gratification from the child’s presence. In court, it is up to the defence must prove that they did not intend to derive gratification from the child’s presence.

Aggravated offences

Committing any of the above offences with children under aggravated circumstances comes with a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment. The three categories of aggravated offences are:

When the child has a mental impairment

When the child is under the offender’s care, supervision or authority

When the offender holds a position of trust and authority over the child

People in positions of trust or authority include parents, grandparents, social workers, a teacher of the abused person, their sports coach, employer, nurse or medical practitioner, religious leader or members of the police force.

Persistent sexual abuse:

Persons who commit three instances of any of the above crimes on separate occasions can be charged with persistent sexual abuse. The penalty for persistent sexual abuse is 25 years imprisonment.

Pleading Not Guilty

If you decide to plead not guilty you will need to prepare to go to a Defended Hearing.

A defended hearing is where all the witnesses of that case are called to give evidence. The witnesses are both examined by the prosecution and tested by your defence lawyers.

National Criminal Lawyers have defended thousands of people charged with Child Sex Offences by Australians in Foreign Countries and are experts at these hearings.

Possible Penalty's

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for a Child Sex Offences by Australians in Foreign Countries charge.

  • Prison sentence;
  • Home Detention;
  • Intensive correction order (previously periodic detention);
  • Suspended sentence;
  • Community service order (CSO);
  • Good behaviour bond;
  • Fine; and/or
  • Section 10.

However, from the 24 September 2018 new penalty’s will be replacing the above. They are as follows:

  • Full time Imprisonment;
  • New ICO (ICO) with a home detention condition available;
  • New Community Correction Order (CCO);
  • Fine and/or
  • New Conditional release Order (CRO)

Why National Criminal Lawyers?

There are three reasons to choose National Criminal Lawyers:

1. We get the results

We are the experts in either beating or having criminal charges withdrawn AND/OR obtaining the least restrictive penalty available. This is because no matter which option you choose within our tailored Options at Law you will be dealing with experienced criminal lawyers who can make sure the evidence is not only obtained properly but also that your case is prepared and presented to the highest best practice standards possible. This is also done without breaking your pocket.

2. We give a Senior Defence Lawyer guarantee

No matter which option at law you choose, National Criminal Lawyers can guarantee that a Senior Defence Lawyer will represent you. This means that with our over 25 years of Combined criminal law experience you will get the best result possible.

3. National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights

At National Criminal Lawyers we know that Criminal Law is a matter of Human Rights. For this reason, we take pride and passion in representing our clients. This pride and passion to assist those charged with an alleged or actual breach of the criminal law is to us a matter of righteous necessity and in that sense, you can always rest assured that National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights. This true not only when the police have just simply got it wrong OR if they have got it right then we can speak with you and make sure you get you the best result available.

If you have been charged with any Child Sex Offences by Australians in Foreign Countries our Team at National Criminal Lawyers are well versed and specialists in having charges either withdrawn and otherwise achieving favourable outcomes.

Please contact our office on 02 9893 1889 or visit www.nationalcriminallawyers.com.au for more information about your options.

Book your first free appointment with National Criminal lawyers now.
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