A BENDIGO man who got a 14-year-old girl drunk and had sex with her has been sentenced to three years and nine months’ jail after a jury rejected his claim he believed the girl was 16.
Samuel Joseph, 31, was sentenced in the County Court in Melbourne on November 30.
At an earlier trial a jury found Joseph guilty of one charge of sexual penetration of a child aged under 16.
The court heard Joseph was boarding at a house in Bendigo last year, living with a woman and her 14-year-old daughter. Joseph later admitted to police he had sexually penetrated the 14-year-old one night after they had both been drinking, but he said he had believed she was 16 at the time.
During the trial the victim and her mother gave evidence that Joseph had been told the girl’s real age on several occasions.
Judge Elizabeth Gaynor said Joseph’s defence was “clearly rejected” by the jury.
She said victim impact statements tendered to the court showed the victim’s relationship with her mother had been irreparably damaged by Joseph’s offending.
“She said she would never have had sex with you had she been sober, and I note the context of this offending was one where you were purchasing alcohol for her and the pair of you consistently drinking together,” Judge Gaynor said.
She said the girl’s mother continued to feel guilt for failing to protect her daughter.
Joseph also pleaded guilty to possessing marijuana, attempted armed robbery, burglary, theft, and breaching an intervention order.
The court was told Joseph tried to rob a 24-hour convenience store in Bendigo on September 15.
Joseph entered the store in the early hours of the morning carrying a 20-centimetre-long sharpened piece of wood. He unsuccessfully tried to open the cash register and when confronted by the store attendant he was convinced to leave without incident.
Joseph then went to the Bendigo Marketplace centre management office, forced a lock on a rear window and stole an LCD television, a mobile phone and an unknown amount of cash from a charity box.
The incident was captured on CCTV, police were called and Joseph was arrested later that morning.
The court heard Joseph had a history of drug addiction – including heroin, ice and Xanax – and significant prior convictions for burglary and theft.
But Judge Gaynor said the sexual offending was the most serious of the charges.
She said she accepted the sexual offending was not pre-planned, but she said the alcohol was an aggravating factor.
“You are many years older than her and your actions were, to say the least, grossly self-indulgent.”
Joseph must spend two years in prison before being eligible for parole. He was placed on the sex offender register for 15 years.