DPP v Snyder [2018] VCC 2112

Sentence summary: child sex offence

A man who sexually abused his baby niece and family dog repeatedly in return for child pornography was sentenced to youth detention.

Jason Snyder, 19, pleaded guilty to a range of sexual offences including two charges of sexual assault of a child under 16, four charges of sexual penetration of a child under the age of 12 and two charges of bestiality.

The offender also pleaded guilty to possessing child abuse material, using a carriage service to cause, produce and transmit child pornography as well as sexual assault of a child under 16.

He was sentenced to four years detention in a youth justice centre.

The Court heard the offender initiated an online conversation about child pornography with a person he believed to be a woman named 'Jessica'.

'Jessica' was in fact a man who encouraged the offender to commit his crimes.

The offender's child abuse fantasies escalated to him sending and receiving dozens of pictures and videos of child pornography.

The offender agreed to send sexually explicit pictures of his two-year-old niece in exchange for further child abuse material from 'Jessica'.

The offender was arrested after a tip-off to the Australian Federal Police.

The sentencing judge said the acts were nothing other than dangerously serious.

"This type of offending is abhorrent to anyone who has any shred of decency or any moral compass," the judge said.

"Not only did you sexually offend physically with your niece, but you transmitted images of that abuse."

The offending also included performing sexual acts with the family dog when the offender was not able to spend time alone with his niece.

"Your acts with the dogs simply disclose depravity," the judge said.

The Court heard how the victim's mother felt betrayed and guilty that she did not protect her child.

"She may well have more to deal with over the years as her child grows up and asks questions. The result of your offending would or should have been clear to you at the time that you committed these horrendous acts," the judge said.

When deciding upon a sentence, the judge noted the offender's remorse, guilty plea, young age and lack of prior criminal history as mitigating factors.

The sentencing judge also accepted expert medical advice that indicated the offender was not likely to re-offend and that a psycho-social disorder played a part in the offending.

The offender also suffers from deep anxiety and depression and was deemed very immature despite being of average intelligence.

Due to the seriousness of offending, incarceration was the only option but due to his age and vulnerabilities, youth detention was a better option for rehabilitation.

The offender was placed on the Sex Offender Register for life.

Note: Jason Snyder is a pseudonym.

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Page last updated: 26 August 2020