Suspended Sentence for Father’s ‘Stray Hands’

28th August 2012 3:49 PM

A FORMER Gold Coast surfboard shaper was suffering a major depressional episode when his hands strayed as he massaged his 13-year-old daughter.

The 44-year-old father, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent treatment of his daughter in 2010.

Supporters from the man’s family and church group sobbed in the public gallery of the Brisbane District Court as Crown Prosecutor Julie Aylward read excerpts from a victim impact statement.

The man’s victimised daughter wrote, in her statement, that she felt she had lost half of her family.

Ms Aylward said the daughter was lying on her bed in her bra and underwear in 2010 when she asked her father to massage her back, which was sore.

The accused cupped his daughter’s breasts during the massage.

The court heard the man massaged his daughter’s back again a few days later.

The man then put his hands down her shorts and massaged her vagina.

Ms Aylward said his daughter confronted her father and he apologised twice but also made reference to her walking around the family home half-naked.

Judge Shanahan said it seemed the man was attempting to place some blame upon the victim.

The daughter told a school teacher about her father’s behavior in 2011, which resulted in the daughter reporting it to police.

Defence lawyer Bill Potts said the man immediately moved out of the family home and sought counselling.

Mr Potts said his client suffered severe depression when the offences occurred and showed remorse for his behaviour.

“He was feeling significantly depressed and anxious about the breakdown of his family relationship and in the grips of a major depressional episode that the offences occurred,” he said.

“The defendant has recognised, more than fully, his conduct in a sense of it being potentially significantly damaging to his daughter.”

The man had lost his job and his business after his conduct was posted on the internet for all to see, Mr Potts said.

The man wiped away tears on Tuesday as his behaviour was recounted in court.

Judge Shanahan said the offences had a devastating impact on the man’s daughter.

“…however, you are solely to blame for your predicament and the situation you are in today,” he said.

The judge sentenced the man to 18 months in jail but suspended the sentence for two years.

Click here to read the article online in the Sunshine Coast Daily