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Is Grooming Illegal?

In 2020, grooming was made an offence according to section 218B of the Criminal Code Act 1899 Act. It carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 5 years. Grooming is defined as a person:

“who engages in conduct in relation to a child, or a person who has care of a child, with intent to:

Grooming generally criminalises conduct in which an adult pursues a child to engage in a sexual act. It is irrelevant whether the person is actually under 16 years old if there is evidence to suggest the defendant believed the person they were communicating with was under 16 years old. There are many examples of cases where a defendant was corresponding with an adult Police officer under the belief they were talking to a child and they were convicted.

A significant piece of evidence in any grooming allegation is an interview with the Police. It is important to speak with a lawyer before engaging in any interview with the Police because anything said in this interview may be admissible in trial. At the interview stage, an accused person does not have the benefit of receiving the evidence or knowing what investigation has been conducted.

Due to the nature of the offence, section 9(4) of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (Q) (“PSA”) is activated which requires a term of actual imprisonment to be imposed unless there are exceptional circumstances. The Court must have regard to factors outlined in section 9(6) PSA:

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Exceptional Circumstances

There is no statutory definition for ‘exceptional circumstances’. R v BCX [2015] QCA 188 provides this Court with a guideline as to the process a Court may undertake when considering whether exceptional circumstances exist.

It is at the discretion of the sentencing Judge as to what may constitute exceptional circumstances. When sentencing a defendant for offences of this nature the sentencing Judge is required to give primary consideration to matters set out in section 9(6) and 9(7) of the PSA.

In BCX it was noted at [34] that such considerations “not only include factors going to an assessment of the objective seriousness of the offence, the effect of the offence on the victim and the need for personal and general protection and deterrence, but also such considerations as the offender’s prospects of rehabilitation, the offenders antecedents, age and character and whether there is remorse and any medical, psychiatric or other relevant report relating to the offender.”

Most sentences for this offence involve actual terms of imprisonment being imposed, though this is not always inevitable.

It is vital to contact a lawyer as soon as possible if you are charged, or if you feel you may be charged, with this offence.

Contact Rana Lawyers

Grooming charges are serious allegations and individuals facing these charges can be impacted by severe legal consequences, from fees to jail time and a permanent criminal record.

A highly competent criminal lawyer is vital if you are facing grooming charges. Their legal expertise, understanding of the complexities involved, and commitment to defending your rights are crucial in navigating these challenging cases and seeking the best possible outcome for your future.

At Rana Lawyers, our wealth of expertise, in-depth knowledge of the law, and unwavering commitment to your defence will play a crucial role in guiding you through any charges, ensuring you comprehend your rights, and adeptly navigating the intricacies of the legal process.

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