Penalty cut for 'root rate' page co-creator

The co-creator of the sexually degrading Facebook page “Bendaz Root Rate” has been given an 18-month community corrections order (CCO) on appeal.

Josh Turner, 25, originally received a six-month suspended sentence and a 15-month CCO after pleading guilty to charges of using a carriage service to offend and using an online information service to publish objectionable material.

The original CCO, handed down by Magistrate Ian Von Einem on July 31, included 150 hours’ community work.The new CCO includes 100 hours.

But County Court Judge Roy Punshon said Turner should not see the sentence as a more lenient penalty.

Judge Punshon said government legislation now made it impossible for him to give Turner a six-month suspended sentence as well as CCO, so he had to choose.

“The best alternative is a CCO, given the high degree of supervision and rehabilitation programs in that order,” he said.

Turner and his brother David McRory set up “Bendaz Root Rate” on June 1 last year, and invited their friends to join the group and rate past sexual partners. The group received hundreds of inbox comments that Turner and McRory posted onto the wall of the public page.

Police later received a complaint from a girl who was named and sexually degraded on the site.

When questioned by police, Turner said he could not say if it had been him or his brother who posted the offensive comments.

He said he had not read all the messages before posting them on the wall because there were so many. Turner’s lawyer Stephen Payne said his client had been “stupid and naive”.

“This behaviour is obviously offensive but born of immaturity and a lack of foresight rather than and sinister or predatory intentions.

“They did not author any of these comments. If the police had cast their net wider there would have been literally hundreds of suspects.”

Mr Payne said his client had shown extreme remorse and was an “excellent prospect of rehabilitation”.

But Judge Punshon said the offending obviously had a profound effect on the victim, her family and friends.

“Your behaviour shows an absolute contemptible attitude to women,” he said.

Judge Punshon ordered Turner to complete a rehabilitation program to address that attitude, but deemed the sex offender assessment requested by Mr Von Einem was not appropriate.

Turner’s two-year ban from Facebook will remain. McRory has also appealed his sentence. He was unable to attend court yesterday but it is expected his appeal will be heard later this week.


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