The West

A man who was originally spared jail for indecently assaulting a 10 year-old mentally-impaired girl has been placed behind bars after a Supreme Court judge agreed his initial sentence was too lenient.

After being found guilty by a jury in February, Kenneth Raymond Hassell, 61, was given a suspended 18-month jail term for the 2012 abuse of the girl in Pinjarra.

But an appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions was upheld by Justice Stephen Hall, who said there was an "obvious disconnection" between the seriousness of the offences and the original sentence.

Hassell was convicted of first kissing the girl, then later forcing her into a bedroom and groping her.

After being confronted by family members, Hassell claimed the girl had "came on to him" - which prompted another man present to assault him, causing Hassell to fall and break two of his toes.

District Court judge Christopher Stevenson suspended the jail term despite Hassell having two previous convictions for indecent assault of a 26-year-old woman while she slept.

But Justice Hall said Hassell's criminal conduct was "persistent and accompanied by physical coercion and threats".

The West Australian

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