A MAN has been jailed for seven years with the final three years suspended after being found guilty of sexually assaulting his niece.
The victim, who was ten years old at the time, has suffered major trauma and is trying to cope with what happened. The sexual assault took place while the child was asleep in a bedroom at the man’s home in November 2016.
The man, who cannot be named as it would lead to identifying the victim, pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting his niece and was found guilty by a majority 11-1 jury verdict.
Defence counsel said the man “does not accept” the verdict.
A psychiatric report stated the defendant was diagnosed with a depressive disorder; that his father died when he was young; and he had had a difficult past.
He is taking medication and receiving counselling for this.
The judge said the fallout of the abuse was akin to the man setting off an “explosion” in his and the victim’s family.
The man was placed on the sex offenders register and was ordered not to drink alcohol or take drugs.
The court also ordered he receive continued psychological assessment in custody.
The judge said he regarded the abuse as being at the top end of the middle range of sexual offences, and, it was a complete betrayal of trust by the defendant.
The four-year sentence was backdated to May this year when the man was first brought into custody.