Court backs 'lenient' sex assault sentence

·2-min read

The "lenient" prison sentence handed to a man who sexually abused a 14-year-old girl won't be increased despite a push by Victorian prosecutors.

That's despite the three top Victorian judges conceding they might have imposed a harsher sentence had they been the ones making the decision.

Aran Spottiswood was ordered to serve at least two years of a four-year prison sentence after repeatedly having sex with the girl he met on a teenage dating app in March 2019.

Spottiswood pleaded guilty to three charges of sexual penetration of a child under 16, one of sexual assault of a child under 16, and of using the girl to produce child abuse material.

He also admitted possession of more than 1800 images and 122 videos later found by police on his computer.

Spottiswood knew the girl was 14 and through conversations on the MyLOL app told her he was 24. She replied that she was not interested.

They later connected on Snapchat and he told her he was 19. The girl agreed to meet up with him and he drove her to a different location where they had sex.

They met again on several occasions over the next two weeks until police spotted the pair in a car in late March and intervened, arresting Spottiswood.

Prosecutor Brendan Kissane QC told Victoria's Court of Appeal that the sentence was inadequate given Spottiswood's predatory actions.

He was found to be a moderate to high risk of re-offending when he is released.

In a decision released on Wednesday, three appeal judges rejected the appeal.

"Had we been sentencing this young man at first instance we might not have imposed a sentence as lenient as that imposed by the judge," they said.

"But that is not the point."

They found the sentence handed down by County Court Judge Liz Gaynor was within the range of sentences she was able to hand down.