Jailed abuser offers $10,000 reparations

A 70-year-old businessman sentenced to three years’ prison for sexually violating a 14-year-old will pay $10,000 emotional harm reparations into a trust for her.

Martin Leslie O’Neill was sentenced on a representative charge of doing indecent acts on the girl, making a video of an assault on the girl, and sexual violation of her.

The girl’s victim impact report said that she did not like what O’Neill was doing to her, but he wouldn’t stop. She was told not to tell her father, and said she was scared at night. “I am very angry at him and I want him to go to jail,” she said.

The girl’s father said she was a warm and loving person. He found the video of the abuse on O’Neill’s camera and could not believe what he saw.

He said O’Neill had ruined the family’s “safe harbour”, and they didn’t know how to deal with it.

Defence counsel Tony Garrett said it was a perfectly natural reaction to want O’Neill punished, but the 70-year-old had become suicidal in prison, had lost weight, was stressed, and was ill.

He said O’Neill was not prepared for prison where he was strip searched, placed in a wing where his cell-mate would not let him in, and was not given his glasses for three weeks.

O’Neill was socially isolated, recovering from cancer treatment, and drinking heavily when the offending occurred, Mr Garrett said.

O’Neill had written letters of apology which would be given to the family after the sentencing. He offered $10,000 to be paid into a trust for the victim, as emotional harm reparations.

Judge Jane Farish said O’Neill’s psychological report said he was not a paedophile, and was at a low risk of re-offending.

He said the girl was brought to his home where she spent time with him in the computer room playing games. Her father was in the next room watching TV.

It was a complete breach of trust and reprehensible abhorrent behaviour, she said, and O’Neill had lost his moral compass.

Judge Farish ordered O’Neill’s camera be forfeited but he is able to have his computer back when the hard drive has been wiped.

She sentenced him to three years’ prison. She read him the first strike warning for sexual offenders, and told him he would be placed on the child sex offenders’ register.