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Paedophile subjected 10-year-old girl to ‘degrading and debasing’ sex acts

A 10-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted in a playground toilet block in Adelaide was subjected to ‘degrading and debasing’ sexual acts, an appeal court has been told.

Arguing that the sentence of less than five years imposed on Hamzeh Bahrami was too low, Director of Public Prosecutions Martin Hinton QC told the court on Tuesday that a judge had erred in giving the accused the full 40 per cent discount allowable for his guilty pleas

Mr Hinton said that had resulted in a sentence that was so disproportionate to the seriousness of the offending that it eroded public confidence in the role of the courts to protect the community.

He told the court that the girl was ‘preyed upon in an instant’ when she was on a swing and deprived of her liberty for eight minutes.

‘In those eight minutes she was subjected to degrading, debasing sexual acts,’ the DPP said.

Mr Hinton said while it should not be overlooked that Bahrami’s guilty pleas removed the need for the girl to relive her experiences in court, that did not necessarily mean he was entitled to the full discount on his jail term.

He said the sentencing judge quite rightly described the offending as among the most serious of its kind and pointed to the strength of the prosecution case.

‘Once the DNA evidence was in, the game was up,’ the Court of Criminal Appeal was told.

But defence counsel Nick Vadasz argued that no error was made in the sentencing process and an appeal in such circumstances had to meet a high hurdle.

‘That hurdle has not been met in this case,’ he said.

‘His Honour carefully considered the material before him and properly, without error, exercised his discretion.’

Bahrami pleaded guilty to four counts of indecent assault over the attack in April last year and was jailed for just under four years and 10 months with a non-parole period of three years.

In sentencing, District Court Judge Paul Slattery said the offending was brazen and egregious.

‘Your offending is abhorrent in the extreme. That you are unable to explain your behaviour is of great concern to me,’ the judge told the 33-year-old.

‘You essentially preyed on a small innocent child, playing in a park in the vicinity of her own home.

‘You lured this innocent child into the toilet block. You committed these abhorrent acts upon her.’

However, Judge Slattery accepted Bahrami was genuinely remorseful and that he had been bashed while in custody, applying the full 40 per cent discount for his guilty pleas.

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