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A victim broke down as her abuser received his sentence

FRIDAY 2.45pm: THE victim of repeated childhood sexual assault more than 40 years ago has broken down in relief as her now elderly abuser was sentenced to at least 10 months in jail.

Lismore District Court Judge Clive Jeffrey sentenced Lismore man Winton Leslie Smith, 80, to two years and four months in prison, with a non-parole period of 10 months.

In sentencing Smith, Judge Jeffrey was required to take into account the offender's age and health, as well as the sentencing standards of the era in which the offences were committed.

Smith showed no emotion as corrective service officers entered the court to take him into custody.

NOT FORGOTTEN: Winton Leslie Smith, 80, pictured outside Lismore Court House, pleaded guilty to historic child sex assault crimes on a 13-year-old girl.
NOT FORGOTTEN: Winton Leslie Smith, 80, pictured outside Lismore Court House, pleaded guilty to historic child sex assault crimes on a 13-year-old girl. Hamish Broome

Last November Smith pleaded guilty to four historical sexual assault charges: two counts of indecent assault on a female, and two counts of attempted carnal knowledge.

The offences date back to between 1969 and early 1971 in South Lismore, when the victim was just 13-years-old.
In sentencing Smith, Judge Jeffrey noted he had made full admissions to police and pleaded guilty at the earliest possible opportunity.

He said there was "no suggestion" of any similar conduct since the offences took place 46 years ago.

He noted the Smith had the support of his wife and her eldest daughter throughout the court proceedings.

He described Smith as "physically frail", with medical issues including chronic kidney disease, arthritis, diabetes, lymphatic leukaemia, and various eye diseases.

However Judge Jeffrey he must "recognise the harm done to the victim and the community" in punishing Smith.
The court heard that the victim had been "significantly affected" by the abuse, suffering anxiety and depression, and undergone counselling throughout her life.

It wasn't until April 2015 that she summoned the courage to finally report the matter to police.

Judge Jeffrey also classed one of the offences as "toward the top end" of seriousness.

On that occasion, the offence was "planned" and involved an attempted rape of the victim which was only avoided because she kicked and screamed until he gave up.

The victim wept tears of relief as the jail sentence was handed down and hugged her supporters.

Smith was allowed a brief opportunity to talk to his lawyer before he was taken away.

 

FRIDAY 6am: SHE has waited 46 years for justice but now the victim of child sexual abuse by a Lismore man must wait no longer.

Winton Leslie Smith, 80, will be sentenced today at 1pm in the Lismore District Court after a protracted sentencing procedure which began on Wednesday morning.

Last year the retired bricklayer pleaded guilty to two counts of indecently assaulting a female under 16, and two counts of attempted carnal knowledge of a girl between 10 and 16, which happened between 1969 and early 1971.

His victim wept throughout yesterday's proceedings, which ended anti-climatically when District Court Judge Clive Jeffrey declared he would wait a day before delivering his final sentence.

 

NOT FORGOTTEN: Winton Leslie Smith, 80, pictured outside Lismore Court House, pleaded guilty to historic child sex assault crimes on a 13-year-old girl.
NOT FORGOTTEN: Winton Leslie Smith, 80, pictured outside Lismore Court House, pleaded guilty to historic child sex assault crimes on a 13-year-old girl. Hamish Broome

In sentencing Smith, Judge Jeffrey must take into account the sentencing regime that was in place in 1971, as well as Smith's advanced age.

The court heard Smith was "physically frail" with several chronic medical issues including leukaemia, chronic kidney disease, and glaucoma.

A suspended sentence has not been ruled out.

His legal aid lawyer Hugh van Dugteren said Smith had also made full admissions to police when confronted by the claims, pleaded guilty, and had demonstrated remorse.

He added that the penalties for Smith's crimes were "far more lenient" in the 1970s than the present day.

 

NOT FORGOTTEN: Winton Leslie Smith, 80, pictured outside Lismore Court House, pleaded guilty to historic child sex assault crimes on a 13-year-old girl.
NOT FORGOTTEN: Winton Leslie Smith, 80, pictured outside Lismore Court House, pleaded guilty to historic child sex assault crimes on a 13-year-old girl. Hamish Broome

But Crown Prosecutor Ben Cochrane cautioned Judge Jeffrey to "not lose sight of the serious nature of the offences" in light of Smith's old age and health.

He warned it was "dangerous" to rely on some of the existing precedents because they weren't specific enough about crucial details like the victim's age and the nature of the acts committed by the perpetrator.

He argued Smith medical problems "were not terribly unusual" and appropriate medical care could be provided in jail.

Mr Cochrane also submitted that the historical nature of the crimes should not justify a more lenient sentence.

Smith was in his early 30s when he sexually abused his victim, who was known to him, while she was just 13.

The offences happened on two separate occasions over at least a two year period.

Smith remains on bail, and was supported by his wife and one of his daughters in the courtroom.

As he left, he muttered: "This is only dividing the family even bloody more".

Topics:  child sex abuse editors picks northern rivers crime sex assault


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