A TYRENDARRA man who admitted having sex with a 15-year-old girl in 1997 has been told he is fortunate to not be serving an immediate term of imprisonment.
Andrew Simon Montgomery, 38, of Princes Highway, pleaded guilty in Warrnambool County Court on August 10 to one charge of sexual penetration of a child aged under 16 years.
Sentencing was adjourned until yesterday so Judge Mark Taft could get sentencing statistics from the time of the offence.
Judge Taft yesterday said that after anxious consideration and some misgiving he had determined to hand down a wholly suspended jail sentence. He sentenced Montgomery to two years’ imprisonment but suspended the jail term for three years.
Judge Taft said the substantial delay, withdrawal of the complaint and revitalisation of the police investigation and Montgomery’s guilty plea were all significant factors. He told Montgomery that he hoped he took notice of the chilling account of the victim tendered to the court through the victim impact statement.
“She should not have had to go through that experience. You can consider yourself fortunate that you are not going to jail today,” he said.
Judge Taft said the victim’s statement was a distressing document and the impact of the offending had been profound.
The woman said in the statement she had sought much help from medical professionals after spending about 10 years trying to bury herself in alcohol and drugs.
She said she would not wish what had happened to her on her worst enemy and that she never wanted anyone else to be Montgomery’s victim.
Montgomery was also placed on the sex offenders’ register for 15 years.