Sex offender decision suppressed

THE public may never learn the reasons behind a judge's decision to sentence a Maclean child sex offender to a suspended jail term, it has been revealed.

NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos said on ABC radio yesterday that the sentencing District Court judge had suppressed both the judgement and the man's name.

He said the judge had since retired from service.

The Maclean man was sentenced in Sydney's Downing Centre District Court a month ago after pleading guilty to sexual intercourse with a child under 10.

The Daily Examiner contacted the Department of Public Prosecutions yesterday to verify the suppression orders, but did not receive a conclusive answer.

A representative confirmed there was a non-publication order on the matter, but was unsure if that applied to the perpetrator as well as the victim

The suppression order on the judgement means the family of the four-year-old victim may never learn why the judge decided to release the convicted man back into the community.

The 24-year-old was released from jail last month after spending 14 months in custody while awaiting sentence.

He is now on a two-year suspended sentence, which means he will only be imprisoned if he breaks the conditions of his good behaviour bond.

The matter was moved from Grafton to Sydney at the end of last year for sentencing.

At the man's last appearance in Grafton Local Court in August, his legal counsel David Imlah told the court the defendant needed to be assessed to see if he had brain damage.

Mr Imlah said at the time that his client was looking at a long jail term regardless of the results of his psychiatric report.

The maximum penalty for the offence is 25 years jail with a standard minimum of 15 years.

Mr Hatzistergos said the suspended sentence was 'beyond belief' and the Director of Public Prosecutions would appeal against the sentence.

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