Man facing ‘lifetime in prison’ for abusing three brothers

A FAR NORTH COAST man is facing a lifetime imprisonment after being found guilty of sexually assaulting his three stepsons.

After almost two hours deliberation, the jury found the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, guilty on three counts of maintaining a sexual relationship with the three brothers, each aged between 10 and 14.

The offending against the three juvenile complainants occurred between 2017 and 2018 in the Tweed Shire, while the man was in a relationship with the boys' mother.

Throughout the three-week trial in the Lismore District Court, the jury heard the man had repeatedly bribed his three stepsons with various treats and more time to play video games as a reward if he could have sexual intercourse with them.

The man had moved into the family home in late 2017 and took up the role of a "father figure", the court heard.

After the couple broke up in August 2018, the man moved out of the house but continued to maintain a sexual relationship with one of the boys up until his arrest in September 2018, the court heard.

The Crown Prosecutor on Wednesday applied for the man to be taken into custody until sentencing, which is expected to take place next year.

The maximum sentencing for this type of offence is a "lifetime imprisonment", the court heard.

The man's defence barrister, Harry Maarraoui, objected to the application stating his client had since his initial arrest been essentially under "house arrest", as part of his bail conditions set out by the NSW Supreme Court.

The man was also required to report daily to police and his parents had put forward a $250,000 surety to the court while on bail.

"(The bail conditions were) extremely onerous and strict, he was under house arrest for almost two years," Mr Maarraoui said.

However, Judge Jeffery McLennan approved the detention application on the basis the man was in breach of separate bail conditions at the time of his arrest for these offences.

"At the time when he was offending against some of these boys, he was on bail in respect of offences in Queensland of maintaining a sexual relationship (with children)," Judge McLennan said.

"An aspect of his (Queensland) bail was he was not to have any contact with children, it appears then he almost daily of 10 months breached his bail deliberately and knowingly."

Judge McLennan said while he agreed the bail conditions set out by the NSW Supreme Court were "onerous", those conditions would have been agreed upon because there was an "unacceptable risk" the man would potentially reoffend again "one way or another".

The man will remain in custody until his next court appearance.

The matter will be mentioned again in the Lismore District Court on December 17 to allow the parties to prepare for sentencing next year.

*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.   


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