By Ursula Malone
The 13-year maximum sentence given to former Bega Cheese boss Maurice Van Ryn was “manifestly inadequate” and failed to reflect the seriousness of his child sexual assault crimes, the Court of Appeal has heard.
Van Ryn was sentenced to 13 years in jail, with a non-parole period of seven years, right after pleading guilty to the abuse of nine boys and girls among 2003 and 2014 on the New South Wales South Coast.
Appearing for the crown in the Court of Appeal, Sally Dowling SC stated the sentencing judge erred in not taking into account proof of grooming.
She said the offences had been not a “brain snap” as Van Ryn had claimed throughout the trial.
Rather, she said, there was a “modus operandi” whereby Van Ryn enticed youngsters with gifts of income and sweets.
In one case she stated the successful businessman had taken a boy on an overnight trip to Canberra, throughout which he gave him alcohol and showed him pornography before sexually assaulting him.
“In my submission, the causes for rejecting a finding of grooming are totally unconvincing and not supported by the evidence,” Ms Dowling mentioned.
His offending, she said, was premeditated and cynical.
Many of Van Ryn’s victims and their families listened in the public gallery as the crown challenged the sentencing judge’s obtaining that Van Ryn had shown “deep contrition”.
“He consistently minimised and downplayed his function. The obtaining of deep contrition was not appropriately obtainable,” the crown submitted.
Appearing for Van Ryn, Stephen Odgers SC said the sentence imposed was the proper a single.
He stated while on the face of it the sentence appeared to be lenient, it was his submission that the Court of Appeal would not be happy it was inadequate.
He stated Van Ryn was taking drugs to minimize his sex drive and his testosterone levels had dropped down virtually to practically nothing.
Mr Odgers said his client’s willingness to submit to this remedy was proof of his contrition.
“It was open to the judge to conclude he was most likely to be able to maintain that regime and it was likely he would not reoffend,” he mentioned.
The panel of 3 judges adjourned to think about the appeal and was expected to provide its choice in the new year.
Topics: crime, law-crime-and-justice, courts-and-trials, bega-2550, nsw