Gympie judge: 'Unusual' penalty - 'unusual' sex crime
JUDGE Bernard Porter was troubled on Thursday, as he considered the unusual circumstances of a confessed rapist whose genuine remorse included helping in his own prosecution.
Before the court was a man whose written admissions of guilt made it impossible for him not to be convicted.
The man cannot be identified without identifying his wife, who was the victim.
The involvement of alcohol prompted the judge also to condemn Australian society's dependence on drink.
"The damage alcohol does to families seems endemically involved in all social groups and classes," the judge said as he heard submissions on penalty in Gympie District Court on Thursday.
Judge Porter said he had heard the point made that "if alcohol was only just discovered now it would be on the dangerous drugs schedule."
But he said :people rightly did not accept such crimes in any circumstances.
"The community will not abide sexual offences, in relationships of outside them," he said.
Unusual and mitigating circumstances included the genuinely contrite and self-incriminating text messages the man sent to his wife.
Defence submission referred to "an unusual amount of co-operation for a crime of this nature."
The man had made his admissions in writing by text message, "in a format that could not be challenged."
He had also made ready admissions to police.
"He made all the admissions and left it at his wife's choice. He freely admitted things before there was a complaint."
The judge noted another "far more serious" case, involving a high level of violence, which attracted a head sentence of five years.
"In my opinion, four years is an appropriate penalty."
He rejected defence submissions that any jail sentence be suspended, but said he was also concerned about the couple's four children, who depended partly on the man's financial contributions.
"Hardship to spouse, family or friends is not normally taken into account, especially for serious offences.
"Hardship is the tragic consequence of any penalty," he said.
He ordered that the man's sentence be suspended after nine months for an operational period of five years.