Kevin Murphy now on two-year CCO

A FORMER Portland funeral director jailed for three months for sex assault offences has ​had his sentence reduced on appeal.

​Kevin Norman Murphy, 73, of Derrill Road, pleaded guilty ​in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court during April this year to stalking, indecent assault and four counts of committing a sexual assault.

​He was jailed for three months and placed on the sex offenders' register for eight years​​.

​Murphy immediately appealed against the severity of the sentence​ and that appeal was heard in the Warrnambool County Court on ​Tuesday.​

Judge Liz Gaynor imposed a two-year community corrections order with conditions that Murphy complete 120 hours of community work and programs to reduce the chances of him reoffending, such as a sex offenders' course.​

She said Murphy's behaviour had been appalling, self-centred, that he had been a pillar of the community, but clearly lost his head because of his incredible infatuation.

"You have lost everything as a result," she said, describing the offending as some sort of lunacy.

Judge Gaynor said she did not think it was necessary for Murphy to be placed on the sex offenders' register as she did not see him as a danger to the community.

She said the offending had been incredibly damaging to the victim, but admitted the victim may not be happy with the sentence that was now being imposed. 

The judge said the order was appropriate because of Murphy's lack of prior convictions or subsequent offending and he had been assessed as being a low risk of reoffending.

"You have paid the ultimate price. You have lost your marriage, business and your relationship with your children due to your predatory and self-absorbed behaviour," she said.

"The complainant was treated as an object who was meant to fall into your arms because of your infatuation. I stress again this was disgraceful behaviour.”

​Crown prosecutor David O'Doherty said the offending start with comments in 2014 and led to sexual assaults involving kissing and groping the woman which escalated in May and June last year. ​

I​n April ​during sentencing, magistrate Cynthia Toose said Murphy’s behaviour was predatory, totally inappropriate and he had provided cash and gifts to the victim in an effort to induce her not to report his behaviour.

She said the offending was purely to satisfy Murphy's sexual gratification and a clear message needed to be sent to the community that taking advantage of young women was totally unacceptable. 

"Her life must have been an absolute misery. Imprisonment is the only appropriate sentencing option," she said.

The magistrate said Murphy had engaged in a course of conduct that the victim had tried to discourage and the complainant had suffered significant repercussions.