AN Echuca BMX rider described as “twisted and disturbingly sadistic” for his offending against 22 young girls has had an extra 10 years added to his jail sentence after an appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Judges of the Court of Appeal found the sentence handed down to Fabian Meharry, 29, in March this year was “manifestly inadequate”.
He was jailed for 12 years with a non-parole period of 10 years after pleading guilty to 62 charges.
Following the successful DPP appeal, Meharry will now serve 22 years in jail with an 18-year non-parole period.
Judges Chris Maxwell and Emilio Kyrou found the sentencing judge had failed to adequately apply accumulation to the sentence, given the gravity and scale of the offending.
In offending described as “on a scale, and at a level of depravity, rarely seen in the courts”, Meharry preyed on 22 young girls mostly aged between 12 and 15 online over a period of almost nine years.
He blackmailed girls he met online into performing depraved sexual acts for his own gratification, and recorded them on his computer to further blackmail them.
Meharry met three of the girls and offended against them in person.
County Court Judge Liz Gaynor described the offending as abhorrent, callous, prolonged, classically predatory, depraved, cruel and remorseless.
In their reasons, the Court of Appeal judges found the sentence did not match this description of the offending.
“There are many disturbing — and some uniquely horrifying — features of the respondent’s offending which elevated its seriousness,” the ruling reads.
“In our respectful view, however, this assessment of the gravity of the offending is not reflected in the total effective sentence of 12 years’ imprisonment.
“It seems to us that there is a striking disconnect between those findings and that sentence.”
Meharry was offending while serving a suspended sentence, and his victims were in every Australian state.
He continued to offend even with the knowledge that his actions were under investigation by police.
In the reasons, Court of Appeal Judge Phillip Priest said a longer sentence was needed to protect the public from a man who had shown no remorse and had no insight into his offending.
“The respondent’s history of offending amply demonstrates that a very large measure of specific deterrence — accomplished through the medium of stern punishment — is required in order to protect the community from the respondent’s dangerous proclivities,” he wrote.
“In approaching the task of resentencing, it is difficult not to have an emotional response to the respondent’s offending, which sank to depths of depravity rarely (if ever) encountered.
“Much of the offending was unnatural, twisted and disturbingly sadistic.”