Elderly Vic sex offender loses appeal

Jacqueline Le

An elderly Victorian child-sex abuser in fear of a "crushing" jail sentence that could see him die behind bars, has lost his appeal to have the jail term reduced.

Howard Edward Burgess, 83, was sentenced to at least six years' imprisonment in 2016 after pleading guilty to 10 counts of historical sexual abuse from the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Burgess admitted repeatedly sexually abusing a boy who lived near him when the boy was aged between nine and 14 years.

The offences were not reported to police until 2013.

Burgess was 82 when he pleaded guilty in the County Court and was sentenced to eight years and six months in prison, with a minimum term of six-and-a-half years.

Burgess appealed against his sentence last week and argued it was "crushing" given his advanced age.

He also submitted the sentence was excessive given his physical condition, limited support from his immediate family and the low risk he posed to the community.

But the Court of Appeal on Friday found the sentence was not excessive even if Burgess could die in jail.

In his appeal, Burgess pointed to Bureau of Statistics data about the life expectancy of Victorian males aged between 82 and 88.

The court found the statistics "do not meaningfully assist" sentencing determinations.

Justices Robert Redlich, Joseph Santamaria and Anne Ferguson said Burgess' old age had already been considered by the sentencing judge.