Indefinite prison for violent sex offender

One of sex offender Brent William Charlton’s treatment sessions had to be stopped when he incorporated the female psychologist into a sadistic fantasy.

Another treatment course was halted because of his “escalating sexual arousal” during the session, the High Court was told before the 43-year-old was today sent to prison indefinitely.

Justice Rachel Dunningham said she believed Charlton’s “sense of entitlement to sexual gratification would not change” and he was likely to offend again. He was seen as a high risk.

She considered whether she could impose a finite jail term of 16 years with a non-parole term, but decided it would not adequately protect the community.

Instead, she imposed an indefinite term of preventive detention. Charlton cannot be considered for release for at least eight years, and then he will not be released until it is decided he does not pose a risk.

She told the prisoner, who stood with his wrists chained to his belt: “You appear fixated on obtaining sexual gratification on any opportunity that is afforded to you.”

Charlton had admitted offending against three victims – two women and a man – spread over a 14-year period from 2000. He admitted a charge of rape, and four of unlawful sexual connection, including two representative charges which indicated offending on more than one occasion.

All three victims reported anal rapes.

Crown prosecutor Barnaby Hawes said the offending included violence that went well beyond what was inherent in such charges. The effects had been devastating for the victims.

Defence counsel Craig Ruane acknowledged that although Charlton had no previous sex offences on his record, he was highly unlikely to be paroled “without some extraordinary change in attitude”.

The victims reported suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts. One had to move house – with a mortgagee sale – because she could not bear to be in the house where the offending occurred any longer. The male victim spoke of nightmares and depression.

Justice Dunningham said Charlton had 100 previous convictions including violence and breaches of protection orders. Her sentencing remarks included:

  • Charlton had been diagnosed with psychopathy, which raised his risk status. On balance, he was seen as being a high risk of future sexual offending.
  • He had expressed no remorse. He said he enjoyed the fear and control he was able to exert over his victims.
  • He saw his future in custody and a psychologist wondered if he was exaggerating his comments to ensure this happened. This also meant prison was not a deterrent.
  • Treatment courses in 2001 and 2009 had been discontinued because of his ambivalence or his failure to attend. In 2012, the course ended when he was recalled to prison. Discussions on a safety plan in 2014 were ended when he became concerned about likely boredom.
  • Another treatment session ended because of his “escalating sexual arousal”, and another programme was terminated when he incorporated the woman psychologist into a sadistic fantasy.

A psychologist told the court: “Treatment has resulted in no behavioural change or skill acquisition.”



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