Suppression stays after under-age Grindr hook-up

Final suppression was granted for a 53-year-old man on a charge of sexual grooming of an underage boy, because the boy had registered on the R18 homosexual dating site Grindr.

Judge Kevin Phillips said the 15-year-old would not co-operate with police and did not want the man charged by them.

Defence counsel Phil Shamy said the boy was angry and anti the police. He was also the initiator of a lot of the comments made on Grindr, and he was much older and worldly wise than his age suggested.

He said his client was not a serious sex offender, just a foolish careless man who made a mistake and did not take the steps he should have done to verify the boy’s age.

His pre-sentence report said he was a low risk of re-offending, and he had lost his job when he was convicted.

Judge Phillips said in June 2017 the man had communicated with the boy and persuaded him to meet him, with the intent to have a sexual involvement with him.

He said some factors took this case out of the normal run, and the boy deleted all messages on his computer before the police, who were called by his mother, arrived.

He took no part in their prosecution of the man, but had put himself on the website and made himself available to what occurred, Judge Phillips said.

The man had good character, and he was not trawling looking for young people, he said, and the boy’s attitude and involvement changed things.

He sentenced the man to three months’ community detention, with a curfew from 8pm to 5am, 150 hours’ community work, and supervision for nine months.

He is not to have contact with people under the age of 16 without supervision, but Judge Phillips did not order reparation for the young boy because of the role he had played.

He then gave the final name suppression order, and said he had never had a similar case before him. He said the man would not be put on the Child Sex Offenders’ register.