A man who spent his teenage years in Bowen has been sentenced for sexually abusing his sister 53 years ago, when she was 14 years old. Photo: File
A man who spent his teenage years in Bowen has been sentenced for sexually abusing his sister 53 years ago, when she was 14 years old. Photo: File

Brother’s ‘abhorrent’ abuse ‘ruined the life’ of his sister

A big brother guilty of "abhorrent" sexual abuse against his sister 53 years ago has been released into the community after spending a few days in police custody.

In Bowen Magistrates Court on Tuesday, Magistrate James Morton condemned the man's "disgraceful" act.

The man, who moved to Bowen when he was 12 and completed his schooling at Bowen State High School, sat in the dock guarded by two police officers after he was remanded in custody on Friday.

The 72-year-old man pleaded guilty to indecent treatment of a girl under 16 after he forced his younger sister, who was 14 at the time, to perform oral sex on him at the top of Castle Hill.

The offence occurred on an unknown date between January 1 and December 31, 1968, when the man was aged between 18 and 19.

His sister had travelled from Bowen to Townsville with her mother to stay with the girl's brother and his wife.

The woman is now a retiree in her 60s who lives in Perth and during Friday's court proceedings she gave a harrowing account of the trauma she had suffered throughout her life as a result of her brother's abuse.

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During sentencing on Tuesday, Mr Morton said the man's offence was a breach of trust between a big brother and younger sister.

But the magistrate noted the man did not seem to show regret.

"To me you are a man who has little remorse, I can see that in you, Sir, but you've pleaded guilty," Mr Morton said.

"What you've done to your sister is abhorrent, it's disgraceful.

"If it was in today's society, (you) would be dealt with for rape."

A man has been sentenced for sexually abusing his sister 53 years ago. Photo: File
A man has been sentenced for sexually abusing his sister 53 years ago. Photo: File

Mr Morton said the abuse had caused his sister to live a life of emotional distress, impacting her ability to remain employed and affecting her confidence.

"I watched her carefully while she was addressing the court with her victim impact statement," Mr Morton said.

"She very kindly made eye contact with you, put you on the spot, which is a very brave thing to do.

"You were her brother and you still are.

"Your offending is serious, you have ruined the life of a lady who would have expected to be able to look up to her big brother and enjoy her life."

Mr Morton told the court he also took into account the time that had passed since the offence, the fact the man had no criminal history at the time, had served in the air force and apologised to his sister.

The man spent three days in police custody before learning his sentence. Picture: Gaye Gerard
The man spent three days in police custody before learning his sentence. Picture: Gaye Gerard

The magistrate also acknowledged back in 1968, the maximum penalties for such offences were "much, much less" but the man had also subsequently been convicted of an offence in Victoria.

Mr Morton concluded a jail term was warranted and sentenced the man, who now lives in Victoria, to 12 months' jail.

"If I don't suspend this order you will only be eligible for a parole eligibility date," Mr Morton said.

"What it means is that you would have to spend a lot of time in custody, probably more than what you deserve but some people wouldn't agree with that and they probably want you in there for good."

The term was immediately suspended for two years after the man served three days, which was classed as pre-sentence custody.

"If your family want nothing to do with you, Sir, don't die wondering," Mr Morton said.

*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.   


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