A central Victorian man who pleaded guilty to sex offences involving his younger sister more than 40 years ago has received a suspended jail sentence.
The 59-year-old man, who cannot be named as that would identify the victim, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool County Court last month to incest and two counts of indecent assault.
On Thursday, he was jailed for a total effective sentence of one year and four months, which was suspended for two years.
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Judge Michael McInerney said if the offences had been committed now the defendant would have faced very different penalties.
The maximum penalty for the indecent assault charges back in the 1970s was three years' imprisonment, whereas today it is 10 years.
Judge McInerney told the victim that he could not exceed the sentence which was applicable at the time of when the offence was committed.
The offending occurred at farming properties in two south-west towns between 1976 and 1983 when the man was aged between 14 and 22 and the victim 12 and 20.
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The court heard the man touched the victim's breasts and on one occasion sexually penetrated her.
The judge said it was "very difficult for the court to take itself back so many years to circumstances that occurred within a family, where crimes are committed on an innocent girl".
"In this case, crimes were committed, the most serious of crimes, by a person who was a child and also intellectually affected," he said.
The judge said he accepted the man was functionally illiterate and that the offending "could in part be due to disinhibition and diminished emotional regulation".
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