A YOUNG Gladstone man facing a potential maximum 14 years jail for having sex with a 14-year-old girl when he was 18, has received a six-month jail sentence.
However, the girl's mother, who reported the under-age sexual activities to police, told the District Court she did not want him to serve actual jail time, but to realise what he did was wrong.
Judge Nicholas Samios immediately suspended the sentence for 12 months after finding the four-year age disparity to be relatively minor.
"However, it could have turned out bad and led to a pregnancy," he said.
The now 19-year-old pleaded guilty to having unlawful carnal knowledge of a child under 16 between March and October last year, and on October 16.
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The Crown case was that the relationship had been consensual as they were girl and boyfriend at the time.
There was no victim impact statement, but Sam Bain, for the Crown, said the girl's mother sent an email that she held no bad will toward him and did not want to ruin his life, only that he learn his lesson and be held accountable.
Do you think 18 and 14 years is too big of an age difference for a relationship?
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Definitely, a 14 year old is not mature enough for a serious relationship.
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At that age it's too big of an age difference.
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However, Mr Bain said (under legislation) the offender must serve actual jail time unless there were exceptional circumstances.
"But the court may have regard to the closeness of their ages, which is four years and four months," he said.
The man's defence also argued that with only a four-year age difference any affect on the girl seemed negligible. He had also co-operated.
Judge Samios said the mother had been concerned that the young people had not been using protection.
He found there were favourable factors in the case and exceptional circumstances.
He said there had been no major age disparity, the young man was not a predator, he was remorseful, and there was a low risk of his reoffending and he otherwise was of good character, and wanted to do further studies.
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