Child sex offender jailed
MACLEAN child sex offender Ronald Dean King will spend at least four-and-a-half years in jail after his suspended sentence was overturned yesterday.
The judgement comes after a public outcry over the leniency of the original sentence.
But the parents of his victim say the jail term is not enough to account for the pain and anger the family is feeling.
While relieved King is now in jail, the parents say their struggle to deal with the trauma is only just beginning.
“It's a big relief, but it should have been longer,” the father said.
The mother agreed: “I wish it was longer, a lot longer.”
“I've been very angry for a long time,” she said.
“It's not something that we can ever forgive. It's not going to end just like that. We have our baby girl who's very hurt, so it's never going to be over for us.”
The father said he was also angry the retired District Court judge who imposed the original sentence would not be held accountable.
Like most of the community, King was 'shocked and surprised' when he wasn't jailed for sexually assaulting a four-year-old girl during a home invasion.
He had already bought a rice cooker, jug and television to make his time in jail easier. However, a NSW District Court judge imposed a two-year suspended sentence in February.
But the sex offender and thief is now behind bars, after appeal judges on Thursday quashed his original term.
In upholding a Crown challenge, the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal jailed King for a minimum of four years, six months and a maximum of seven years.
The court concluded the judge should have jailed him for six years nine months, instead of imposing a two-year suspended sentence.
But Justices Peter McClellan, Michael Grove and Roderick Howie imposed a lesser term, for reasons including King being put in fear of vigilantes due to the 'manifestly inadequate' original sentence.
At the appeal, King's barrister conceded the judge had been in error in suspending the sentence.
And according to his own affidavit, King himself had been 'shocked and surprised', but happy, when he walked free.
King, who was 23 at the time of the offence, had pleaded guilty to having sexual intercourse with a child under 10, the offence involving digital penetration.
He also admitted to one act of indecency, stealing from a dwelling and attempting to take a motor vehicle.
After the appeal court decision, King was taken into custody by Corrective Services officers, having already been told to expect to be returned to jail.
He will be eligible for parole on May 27, 2012.