Criminal Lawyers for Child Sex Offences – Sections 66 & 73 Crimes Act 1900


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While being charged with a child sex offence can be a difficult experience, you can rest assured that our dedicated, experienced criminal lawyers will fight for your liberty every step of the way – no matter how serious the charges are.

There are various child sex offences under the Crimes Act, each of which differs slightly based on the age of the child in question. This means that while the elements of each offence are largely the same, the penalties imposed vary depending on the age of the child involved.

The Crimes Act also contains separate offences for ‘aggravated’ child sex offences – in other words, where there are factors at play which make the child sex offence more serious. Generally, these offences give rise to harsher penalties.

Furthermore, there are additional offences for procuring, grooming and meeting a child after grooming for sexual purposes.

Keep reading to find out how our specialist criminal lawyers can provide you accurate advice and the strongest possible defence against child sex allegations.

Sexual intercourse with a child

Sexual intercourse is any penetration of the female genitalia or anus, or cunnilingus.

If you are charged with sexual intercourse with a child, you will have two options: to plead ‘not guilty’ or to plead ‘guilty’

Your Options

Pleading Not Guilty

Before you can be found guilty of sexual intercourse with a child, the prosecution must prove that you:

  • Had sexual intercourse
  • With a child

If the prosecution is unable to prove these two factors beyond a reasonable doubt, you will be found ‘not guilty.’

If you believe that you should be found ‘not guilty’ of sexual intercourse with a child, our expert defence team can help you get the charges dropped by casting doubt upon the prosecution evidence and sharing your side of the story persuasively in court.

Our expert lawyers have considerable experience fighting and winning child sex cases and can give you the advice and representation that you need when it comes to fighting the charges.

Our specialist sexual offence lawyers can also advise you of any defences that you can raise, which, if accepted, may result in the charges being dismissed.

Examples of defences include:

  • Where you didn’t know that the person was a child
  • Where you were coerced or threatened into committing the offence (duress)

Pleading Guilty

If you’re considering pleading guilty, you might be wondering what happens next.

Pleading guilty at an early stage means that you will proceed straight to sentencing, which is where the judge determines the type of penalty that you will receive.

This means that you will be spared the time and expense of a trial to determine your guilt. You may also receive a more lenient penalty for showing the court that you have accepted responsibility for your actions.

You may also be wondering what kinds of penalties you could face if you plead guilty.The offence of sexual intercourse with a child will be dealt with in a higher court, such as the District or Supreme Courts.

Sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 10 carries a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment.

Where the child is aged between 10 and 14, the maximum penalty is 16 years imprisonment.

Where the child is aged between 14 and 16 years of age, the maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment.

However, these are maximum penalties only, meaning that they will usually only apply in the most serious cases.

The type of penalty that you will receive will depend on all the facts and circumstances of your case.

With the help of our expert defence team, you can increase your chances of getting a more favourable outcome in your case. Our specialist sex offence lawyers have the knowledge and experience necessary to secure a favourable penalty in these serious cases.

Call the experts now on (02) 9261 8881 for a confidential discussion about how we can help you with your child sexual offence matter.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?

At Sydney Criminal Lawyers, we know how important your liberty is. That’s why we have a reputation for fighting – and winning – cases involving child sex offences.

You can trust us to guide you through every step – from explaining the charges to you, to fighting for your freedom in court.

At Sydney Criminal Lawyers, our dedicated senior lawyers thoroughly examine all the evidence to find anything that may assist your case. In fact, our thorough research means that we frequently get charges dropped before matters even proceed to court – saving you valuable time and money.

If the matter ends up in court, our senior defence lawyers work hard to raise all available defences, which, if accepted, can result in the charges against you being dismissed.Our senior lawyers are all Accredited Criminal Law Specialists – highly experienced lawyers with a proven track record of winning some of the most serious criminal matters.

So don’t waste time speaking to inexperienced lawyers. Get the best lawyers on your side today – call us on our 24 hour hotline (02) 9261 8881 and let’s discuss how we can help you fight your case.

What Does the Law Say About Sexual intercourse With a Child?

If you’ve been charged with a child sex offence, you may be wondering what kind of penalties you may be facing.

We have included some information below about the type of evidence that is needed before you are found guilty, as well as the possible penalties that you could face.

What does the prosecution need to prove?

To be found guilty of sexual intercourse with a child, the prosecution must prove that you:

  • Had sexual intercourse: Under the law, ‘sexual intercourse’ has a broad definition and doesn’t only refer to cases of genital penetration. It can also include things such as oral sex, penetration of another person using an object. There is no need to prove that ejaculation occurred, or that the intercourse was done for sexual pleasure.
  • That the person with whom you had sexual intercourse was a child under the age of 10

What penalties could I face?

Sexual intercourse with a child carries different maximum penalties depending on the age of the child in question:

  • Where the child is under the age of 10, the maximum penalty is life imprisonment.
  • Where the child is aged between 10 and 14, the maximum penalty is 16 years imprisonment.
  • Where the child is aged between 14 and 16 years of age, the maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment.

However, it’s important to remember that these are maximum penalties only, and statistics indicate that the average penalty will usually be much lower.

When assessing how serious your actions were, and when deciding what the appropriate penalty is, the court will consider all the facts and circumstances of your case, including:

  • The period over which the incidents took place
  • How many incidents there were
  • How you coerced the child and whether you abused a position of trust – e.g. if you were a family member, teacher, carer, coach or religious leader.
  • Whether there were any threats involved
  • The impact on the child
  • Whether you were a victim of sexual abuse when you were a child
Aggravated Sexual Intercourse with a Child

Aggravated sexual intercourse with a child is a more serious form of ‘sexual intercourse with a child.’

It involves sexual intercourse with a child in circumstances of aggravation – in other words, factors which make the charge more serious.

If you’re facing charges involving aggravated sexual intercourse with a child, it’s only natural to feel worried about what the future may hold. But with the help of Sydney’s best criminal lawyers, you can rest assured that you will get the best possible outcome in your case.

Your Options

Pleading Not Guilty

To be found ‘guilty’ of aggravated sexual intercourse with a child, the prosecution will have to prove that you:

  • Had sexual intercourse
  • With a child

As well as this, the prosecution must prove at least one ‘aggravating circumstance.’ An aggravating circumstance is some additional factor which makes your actions more serious. There are 9 possible aggravating circumstances:

1. That you intentionally or recklessly inflicted actual bodily harm upon the child, or someone else who is present

2. That you threatened to inflict actual bodily harm on the child or someone nearby

3. There were two or more people present at the time of the offence

4. The child was under your authority (e.g. where you are a parent, teacher, carer or babysitter

5. The child had a serious cognitive impairment

6. The child had a serious physical disability

7. You committed a ‘break and enter’

8. The child was ‘deprived of their liberty’ before or after the offence

9. You took advantage of a child under the influence of drugs or alcohol

If you feel that the prosecution will not be able to prove the two factors listed above, as well as at least one aggravating circumstance, you may choose to plead ‘not guilty.’Our lawyers specialise in sex offences and are equipped with the knowledge and experience necessary to give you the best possible defence against the charges.

If you wish to plead ‘not guilty,’ our highly experienced defence team can fight to have the charges against you dropped by raising any problems with the prosecution case at an early stage.

We can also advise you of any defences that you can raise which, if accepted, will result in a finding of ‘not guilty.’

If you go to court, you may also be able to raise a defence to explain or justify your conduct, for example:

  • Where you didn’t know that the person was a child
  • (duress)

Pleading Guilty

If you don’t wish to fight the charges against you, you may wish to enter a plea of ‘guilty’ early on.

By pleading guilty at an early stage, you will likely receive a more lenient outcome as you will show the court that you have accepted responsibility for your actions. You will also be spared the time and expense of a trial.

However, before pleading guilty, have a talk to one of our criminal law specialists, as there may be some way that you can fight the charges in court to secure a verdict of ‘not guilty.’

If you want to plead guilty, it’s only natural to wonder about the types of penalties that you could face.

Generally, child sex offences will be dealt with by a higher court, such as the Supreme or District Courts. The judge will determine the most suitable penalty after considering all the facts and circumstances of your case.

The maximum penalties that apply depend on the age of the child involved.

  • Where the child is under the age of 10, the maximum penalty is life imprisonment
  • Where the child is aged between 10 and 14, the maximum penalty is 20 years imprisonment
  • Where the child is aged between 14 and 16, the maximum penalty is 12 years imprisonment

However, it’s important to remember that the maximum penalty will generally only apply in the most serious of cases.

Our highly experienced advocates can help you persuade the judge to deal with the matter leniently, and will assist you in preparing effective sentencing submissions that will present your case in a positive light and highlight any factors that make your conduct less serious.

To find out more about the types of penalties that you could face, take a look at the ‘More Information’ section below.

What Does the Law Say About Aggravated Sexual Intercourse with a Child?

If you’ve been charged with a sexual offence against a child, there’s no doubt that you will want to be well-informed about what the charges are and how they can affect you.

We’ve included some information below to help you understand the charges and the impact they may have on your life.

What does the prosecution need to prove?

  • Had sexual intercourse: Under the law, ‘sexual intercourse’ has a broad definition and doesn’t only refer to cases of genital penetration. It can also include things such as oral sex, penetration of another person using an object. There is no need to prove that ejaculation occurred, or that the intercourse was done for sexual pleasure.
  • The person who you had sexual intercourse with was a child

In addition to these factors, the prosecution will have to prove an ‘aggravating circumstance’ – see below.

What are aggravating circumstances?

An aggravating circumstance is some additional factor which makes your actions more serious. Under the law, there are nine possible ‘aggravating circumstances’:

1. That you intentionally or recklessly inflicted actual bodily harm upon the child, or someone else who is present: 

Actual bodily harm refers to harm that has some form of lasting impact – but it doesn’t have to be permanent. Examples of actual bodily harm include bruises or scratches, and can include emotional harm where there is evidence of serious, lasting psychiatric harm.

2. That you threatened to inflict actual bodily harm on the child or someone nearby:

Threats to use a weapon can include verbal threats, as well as ‘physical’ threats such as showing the child a knife or pointing a gun at them.

3. There were two or more people present at the time of the offence:

The prosecution must show that there was at least one other person physically present at the time of the offence, and that they shared a common purpose with you.

The court will consider the effect of the group as a whole in committing the act or intimidating the victim.

It won’t be enough to show that the other person participated in the offence without being physically present – e.g. where someone acted as a lookout or assisted in planning the offence.

4. The child was under your authority (e.g. where you are a parent, teacher, carer or babysitter):
This involves cases where the child was under your care, supervision or authority, for example, where you are the child’s parent, step-parent, or where you are a relative that is taking care of the child. It also includes cases where you are the child’s carer, baby-sitter or teacher.

5. The child had a serious cognitive impairment:

A ‘serious cognitive impairment’ refers to cases where the complainant had ‘below average intellectual function,’ which meant that they required assistance and supervision with daily activities.

Examples of mental disabilities include developmental disorders, neurological disorders, dementia, and severe mental illnesses or brain injuries.

6. The child had a serious physical disability: 

A ‘serious physical disability’ refers to a physical impairment or defect which may arise from an accident or condition at birth and affects the complainant’s quality of life.

7. You committed a ‘break and enter’:

The prosecution must prove that you committed a ‘break and enter’ with the intention to commit the offence or any other serious offence. You can see our page on ‘break and enter’ for more information on this.

8. The child was ‘deprived of their liberty’ before or after the offence:

This involves confining or detaining the child against their will.

9. You took advantage of a child under the influence of drugs or alcohol

What penalties could I face?

The maximum penalties that you will face depend on the age of the child in question:

  • Where the child is under the age of 10, the maximum penalty is life imprisonment
  • Where the child is aged between 10 and 14, the maximum penalty is 20 years imprisonment
  • Where the child is aged between 14 and 16, the maximum penalty is 12 years imprisonment

However, statistics indicate that the average penalty will be much lower than the maximum penalty – for example:

  • In the case of aggravated sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 10, the average penalty is 10 years imprisonment, with an average non-parole period of 6 years – meaning that the average person spends a total of 6 years in gaol.
  • Where the child is aged between 10 and 14, the average period of imprisonment is 6 years, with a non-parole period of 36 months.
  • Where the child is aged between 14 and 16, the average period of imprisonment is 3 years, with a non-parole period of 12 months.

When assessing how serious your actions were, and when deciding what the appropriate penalty is, the court will consider all the facts and circumstances of your case, including:

  • The period over which the incidents took place
  • How many incidents there were
  • How you coerced the child and whether you abused a position of trust – e.g. if you were a family member, teacher, carer, coach or religious leader.
  • Whether there were any threats involved
  • The impact on the child
  • Whether you were a victim of sexual abuse when you were a child

Remember, you can increase your chances of getting a favourable result by getting experienced criminal lawyers on your side, who will fight to ensure that you get the best possible outcome.

Sexual intercourse with child between the ages of 16 and 18 in special care – s 73

Being charged with sexual intercourse with a child in special care can potentially impact your relationships with family and friends, as well as your career prospects.

However, choosing the right lawyer can make all the difference to the end result, and with the assistance of our expert lawyers, you may be able to avoid a conviction altogether.

Your Options

Pleading Not Guilty

Before you can be found guilty of ‘sexual intercourse with a child between the ages of 16 and 18 in special care,’ the prosecution must prove that you:

  • Had sexual intercourse
  • With a child aged between 16 and 18
  • Who was in ‘special care’

If you feel that the prosecution will not be able to prove each and every one of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt, then you may want to consider pleading ‘not guilty.’

Our highly experienced advocates have appeared in countless child sex offence cases and can help you present your side of the story persuasively in court, along with any possible defences that may help explain your conduct.

Defences that you may be able to raise include:

Pleading Guilty

In some cases, you may simply wish to accept the allegations against you and plead guilty at the first opportunity.

Pleading guilty early on can actually be beneficial to your case, as it will show the court that you have accepted responsibility for your actions. This can often result in a more lenient penalty – plus you will be spared the time and expense of a criminal trial to determine your guilt.

However, before pleading guilty, it is a good idea to discuss your matter with an experienced criminal lawyer, who will be able to advise whether you can fight the charges in court.

Our expert defence team is made up of highly skilled Accredited Criminal Law Specialists who can give you the advice you need when deciding whether or not to plead guilty.

If you wish to plead guilty, you may be wondering what kinds of penalties you could face.

The maximum penalty for sexual intercourse with a child in special care varies depending on the age of the child in question. 

  • Where the child is 16 years old, the maximum penalty is imprisonment for 8 years.
  • Where the child is aged between 17 and 18, the maximum penalty is 4 years imprisonment.

However, it’s important to remember that maximum penalties will only apply in the most serious cases. Imprisonment will only be used as a last resort.

In many cases, you may be able to avoid imprisonment altogether – in fact, statistics indicate that the most common penalty is a suspended sentence.Our highly skilled sexual offence specialists can also assist you in obtaining a favourable penalty by presenting sentencing submissions which highlight any factors that reduce the seriousness of your actions, or which the court should consider when deciding the appropriate penalty.

You can find out more about the types of penalties that you could receive below:

What Does the Law Say About Sexual intercourse with a Child Between the Ages of 16 and 18 in Special Care?

The law in relation to child sex offences is often complex and difficult to understand.

We’ve compiled some additional information below that will help you understand the charges.

What does the prosecution need to prove?

To be found guilty of sexual intercourse with a child between the ages of 16 and 18 in special care, the prosecution must prove that you:

  • Had sexual intercourse: Under the law, ‘sexual intercourse’ has a broad definition and doesn’t only refer to cases of genital penetration. It can also include things such as oral sex, penetration of another person using an object. There is no need to prove that ejaculation occurred, or that the intercourse was done for sexual pleasure.
  • That the person with whom you had sexual intercourse with was a child between the ages of 16 and 18
  • That the child was in ‘special care’:

The law lists 5 examples of ‘special care.’ These are:

1. Where you are the parent, step-parent, guardian or foster parent of the child, or the de-facto partner of one of these persons;

2. Where you are the child’s teacher and they are your pupil;

3. Where you are the child’s religious, sporting, music or other leader and you have a personal relationship with them;

4. You are a custodial officer where the child is being held in prison;

5. You are the child’s health professional and they are your patient

Procuring, grooming or meeting a child under 16 for unlawful sexual activity – s 66EB

If you’ve been charged with procuring, grooming or meeting a child for unlawful sexual activity, you might be worried about how the charges could affect your life.

However, choosing the right team of lawyers can help protect your freedom and your future.

Your Options

Pleading Not Guilty

It’s important to remember that the prosecution has to prove three key factors before you can be found guilty of procuring, grooming or meeting a child for unlawful sexual activity.  The three elements that must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt are:

1.That you procured, groomed or met

‘Procured’ means any attempt to obtain a child for sexual activity;

‘Groomed’ means showing or exposing a child to indecent material, or providing them with drugs or alcohol with the intention to make it easier to get the child to engage in sexual activity;

‘Met’ means that you intentionally met up with a child, or travelled to meet a child with the intention of procuring the child for sexual activity.

2. A child under the age of 16

3. For unlawful sexual activity

If you feel that the prosecution will be unable to prove these elements, you can enter a plea of ‘not guilty.’ Our team of expert criminal defence lawyers can then give you the best possible defence against the charges by casting doubt upon the prosecution case and pushing to have the charges dropped before the matter reaches court.

We can also advise you of any possible explanations (or ‘defences’) for your conduct. The defences that you might consider include:

Pleading Guilty

If you don’t want to fight the charges, you can simply plead guilty at an early stage. This means that you will avoid the time and expense of a trial as you will proceed straight to sentencing, where the appropriate penalty will be determined by the judge.

You may also obtain a more lenient penalty by pleading guilty at an early stage, as the judge will take into account the fact that you have accepted responsibility for your actions.

However, before entering a plea, it’s important to speak to an experienced criminal lawyer, who will be able to advise if there is any way to fight the charges in court.

If you decide to admit to the charges by pleading guilty, you will probably want to know what type of penalty you could receive and how it will impact your life.

Under the law, the maximum penalty for procuring or meeting a child for unlawful sexual activity is 15 years imprisonment where the child is under 14 years of age, and 12 years imprisonment for any other child under 16.

The maximum penalty for grooming a child for unlawful sexual activity is 12 years imprisonment where the child is under 14 years of age, and 10 years imprisonment for any other child under 16.

However, these maximum penalties only apply in the most serious of cases – the type of penalty that you will receive will be determined based on all the facts and circumstances of your case.

Our criminal law specialists can help you obtain the best possible outcome by preparing sentencing submissions which highlight any factors which reduce the seriousness of your actions. 

The types of penalties that you could receive include:

What Does the Law Say About Procuring, Grooming or Meeting a Child Under 16 for Unlawful Sexual Activity?

When you’ve been charged with a child sex offence, it can be hard to know where to look for information about the charges.

We have compiled some additional information below to help you understand what the prosecution needs to prove before you will be found guilty of the offence, and how a conviction could affect you.

What does the prosecution need to prove?

To be found guilty of this offence, the prosecution must prove that you:

1. Procured, groomed or met:

‘Procured’ means any attempt to obtain a child for sexual activity;

‘Groomed’ means showing or exposing a child to indecent material, or providing them with drugs or alcohol with the intention to make it easier to get the child to engage in sexual activity.

The grooming can occur in person, over the internet, over the phone or by any other means. It also includes sending photos, videos or other publications over the internet.

‘Met’ means that you intentionally met up with a child, or travelled to meet a child with the intention of procuring the child for sexual activity.

2. ‘A child under the age of 16:

This includes persons pretending to be children, even where they are an adult. It will be enough to show that you believed that they were a child.

3. For unlawful sexual activity:

The meaning of ‘unlawful sexual activity’ under the Act doesn’t only refer to sexual intercourse. In fact, it does not have to involve any physical contact with the child at all.

Furthermore, the prosecution doesn’t have to prove any specific sexual activity – it will be enough that you attempted to engage in any type of sexual activity.

What penalty could I face?

The maximum penalty for procuring or meeting a child for unlawful sexual activity is 15 years imprisonment where the child is 14 years or younger, and 12 years imprisonment in all other cases.
The maximum penalty for grooming a child for unlawful sexual activity is 12 years imprisonment where the child is 14 years or younger, and 10 years imprisonment in all other cases.

The types of things that the Court will look at when determining how serious the offence is (and what the appropriate sentence is) include:

  • Whether you offered the child money or material goods in exchange for the sexual activity
  • Whether you ‘pursued’ the child over a period of time
  • How old the child was
  • The age difference between yourself and the child
  • Any steps that you took to conceal your identity

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