Vic sex offender sentence appeal dismissed

Christopher Talbot

Three senior judges agree a Victorian sex offender should be behind bars for longer, but the virgin who pressured women to send lewd photos of themselves will be released within weeks.

An appeal to have Connor Haynes' jail time extended was dismissed on Thursday because prosecutors had failed to challenge the sentence during the plea hearing.

Haynes, 30, pleaded guilty in the Victorian County Court last year to nine charges relating to sexual offending or harassment via the internet. Seven of those charges related to children.

The most serious offence was engaging in sexual activity with a child under 16 over the internet.

Haynes, who was an overweight virgin, used a fake profile photo "of a man more attractive than himself" to build a fantasy life in which he pressured women into sending lewd content of themselves.

Two women sent pictures or videos to him, and, when he revealed his true identity and they tried to cut him off, he threatened to make the photos public and tried to blackmail one of them into having sex .

He was sentenced to 30 months' imprisonment, but was put on a recognisance release order that will see him out of jail after 10 months to go into a sex offenders program.

The Director of Public Prosecutions appealed the sentence in March, saying it was manifestly inadequate.

The Court of Appeal agreed.

However,, the appeal was dismissed because prosecutors had failed to "challenge the appropriateness of the RRO or likely pre-release period during sentencing", judges Robert Redlich , Mark Weinberg and Stephen McLeish said in their decision.

The lateness of application, considering Haynes is due for release in six weeks, was also a factor in denying the appeal.

But the judges agreed that the 10 months' jail was not enough.

"Nevertheless, for the purpose of future guidance as to sentencing principles and standards, we should state that the immediate term of imprisonment of the pre-release period of 10 months is manifestly inadequate," the judgment said.

As well as the sex offender program, Haynes will serve a two-year good-behaviour order.