A COLERAINE man was this week jailed for five years after pleading guilty in a Warrnambool court to sex offences involving two girls.
John Stanley Underwood, 66, of Church Street, last week admitted in the Warrnambool County Court to committing three indecent acts with a child aged under 16 years and two counts of sexual penetration of a child aged under 16 years.
The girls were aged between 10 and 15 years when the offending took place between 2008 and earlier this year.
On Monday Underwood was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment and ordered to serve three years before being eligible for parole.
He was also placed on the sex offenders’ register for life.
Judge James Montgomery said Underwood had no criminal history and the guilty pleas were important because they indicated remorse and saved the victims the trauma of going through a trial.
He noted the county courts were overburdened by jury trials involving sex offences.
Judge Montgomery said four victim impact statements had been tendered to the court, outlining the trauma caused.
He said the defendant’s actions had adversely effected the lives of two young people and their families.
Judge Montgomery said medical reports indicated Underwood suffered extreme depression and severe stress and a psychologist could not say the defendant was in a fit state of mind to make reasonable decisions at the time of the offences.
He said Underwood only had one friend supporting him and a psychologist reported the defendant knew it was wrong to have sex with a child.
The judge said those comments were the closest anyone got to explaining the offences and there was no real explanation why Underwood had set out on his offending aged 61 years.
Judge Montgomery said the sentence reflected his opinion of Underwood’s conduct and only imprisonment was appropriate.