A 24-YEAR-OLD man who had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl took advantage of her vulnerability and breached her trust, a court was told.
The man, now 25, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, pleaded guilty in the Bundaberg District Court yesterday to five charges of carnal knowledge of a child under 16, public nuisance, obstruct police and for breaching a domestic violence order.
Crown prosecutor Julie Aylward said the teenage girl had run away from home when she met the man in late January 2011.
"They quickly began a sexual relationship, which continued for a period of just under a month," she said.
Mrs Aylward said the offences came to light after the girl attended a sexual health clinic and disclosed she had been having unprotected sex with the older man.
The prosecutor said the girl was interviewed by police, but failed to reveal the man's full identity because she loved him.
The court was told that when the girl heard a rumour that the man had been seeing someone else, she agreed to get the man to make admissions over the phone while she was in the presence of police.
The man was arrested on February 23 and has spent the past 352 days in pre-sentence custody, which the judge noted was a long time "for what were consensual acts of intercourse".
Defence barrister Kim Bryson said there had been a "significant delay" in getting information from police to have the matter finalised earlier.
Judge David Reid said the man had shown complete disregard for the young girl's age and her vulnerability.
"Children are protected because they make bad decisions in life," he said.
"It's clear at the time you knew she was under the age of 16."
Judge Reid told the man that prison was "no way to lead a happy or meaningful life".
The man was sentenced to two years imprisonment for the four charges of carnal knowledge, to be suspended after 352 days which was declared as time served, with an operational period of three years.
He was given two years probation for the final charge of carnal knowledge and the other three offences.
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