Hervey Bay father's years of sexual abuse against own daughter was exposed in Hervey Bay District Court.
Hervey Bay father's years of sexual abuse against own daughter was exposed in Hervey Bay District Court. Warren Lynam

SEXUAL ABUSE: Girl watches on as her father faces justice

A MAN who tried to sodomise his young daughter and manipulated her into using sex toys has had his years of sexual abuse laid bare.

The 40-year-old Hervey Bay man kept his eyes to the ground as his horrific crimes against his daughter, which began when she was just 12, were read out in Hervey Bay District Court last week.

The girl sat in the public gallery to watch the man who had abused her for three years face justice.

The man, who cannot be identified to protect his victim, pleaded guilty to maintaining a sexual relationship with a child and recording in breach of privacy on Monday, April 29.

Crown prosecutor Jane Shaw told the court the small business owner frequently molested, orally and digitally penetrated the victim and masturbated himself between her legs.

"He was her father which makes it all the worse. It was the most egregious breach of trust," she said.

"These actions can not just corrupt a child but can destroy them.

"He treated her, not as a child to be protected, but an object for his own sexual gratification."

Ms Shaw said the offending usually occurred at night while the girl's brothers slept, or when she and her father were home alone together.

"At times the complainant would refuse the acts but the defendant would threaten to take away privileges with phone credit or socialising with friends to secure her compliance," she said.

The court heard the man had attempted to sodomise the girl when she was 12.

On another occasion the victim woke to find her father filming her genitals on his phone.

She grabbed his phone and deleted the images.

"She disclosed the matters to her boyfriend who ultimately let her school know and police were then contacted," Ms Shaw said.

The court heard the defendant made admissions to police while a search warrant was executed at his house.

"He did seek to paint the complainant as seducing him, which is not accepted by the Crown, nor is it an excuse for this type of offending," Ms Shaw said.

"(The victim) has been scarred in so many ways from both the offending during her childhood but also losing her family and support system once the offending was reported."

The girl, now 17, is still at school but finds herself with no family support, no money and suffering from mental health issues.

"She has a sense of guilt for what the defendant did to her," Ms Shaw said.

The court heard of another alleged sexual assault when the girl was just eight and the family lived in New South Wales.

The charge was not prosecuted but resulted in the girl being removed from her father's care for about a year.

Defence barrister Peter Ruttledge, instructed by McGarvie Family Law Practice, said the man was sexually abused by one of his older brothers when he was about eight.

"He suffers from anxiety and depression, alcohol has been a problem for him, it caused the breakdown of his marriage in 2017 and he was drinking heavily in the period that the victim was living with him in Hervey Bay," Mr Ruttledge said.

"There has been a move from a position where he lacked insight into his offending to understanding he has abused his position of trust."

Justice Martin Moynihan took into account the man's limited criminal history, timely plea, co-operation with the police and undertaking of counselling when sentencing.

"You also on occasions provided and encouraged her to use sex toys," he said.

"I note the complainant's brave presence here today."

The man received a head sentence of seven years in prison, to be eligible for parole on October 21, 2021.

Just two days later the man appeared in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court to face two breach of bail charges related to his offending against his daughter.

The court heard he sent his victim a card on December 22, then indirectly tried to contact her via Facebook on January 18.

No further penalty was imposed.