Pinjarra father avoids jail for asking child to send nude photos

Sentence handed down: The man was sentenced to nine months prison, suspended for 12 months when he appeared in the Perth District Court on Thursday. Photo: Shutterstock.
Sentence handed down: The man was sentenced to nine months prison, suspended for 12 months when he appeared in the Perth District Court on Thursday. Photo: Shutterstock.

A Pinjarra father-of-two has avoided jail after asking a 14-year-old girl to send nude pictures of herself via Facebook messenger. 

The 40-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared in the Perth District Court on January 10 after pleading guilty to using electronic communication with intent to expose a child under 16 years old to indecent matter. 

State prosecutor Sarah Kavanagh told the court the man sent several messages within a 20 minute period to the girl, on September 4, 2017, including: ‘What’s going on, little mischief?’, ‘I better be good cos your mum and dad will kill me’, ‘Nude selfies?’, ‘Get your t*** out’ and ‘You can show me and I won’t say a thing’.

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The man committed the offence while on a camping trip with friends. 

The man’s lawyer Justin Geoghegan said his client had consumed alcohol and cannabis throughout the day, before retreating to a caravan to send the messages. 

He deleted the messages after sending them except for the last message from the victim which read: ‘Stop texting me’. 

Mr Geoghegan said the incident was isolated and there had been no attempt of grooming or “cunning” behaviour prior to the messages. 

The man claimed to not have remembered sending the “coherent” messages, but Judge Fiona Vernon told the court she could not accept this.

Ms Vernon said the messages would have been “disturbing” to the victim.

In a letter to the court, the victim said she felt anxiety, panic and anger after the incident. 

Ms Vernon said the incident was serious, but accepted it was a “one off” and the man was remorseful. 

Ms Vernon said mitigating factors included the man pleading guilty at a reasonably early opportunity, his lack of criminal record and undertaking of psychological treatment. 

The man was sentenced to nine months prison, suspended for 12 months.