Request callback





    Blog

    A youth soccer coach from western Sydney has pleaded guilty to multiple sexual intercourse with child charges as well as child abuse material charges.

    Get A Free Case EvaluationHave a legal issue?

    Submit your inquiry to speak to a Senior Lawyer






      sexual intercourse with child

      Soccer Coach Pleads Guilty to Multiple Sexual Intercourse with Child Charges

      Posted By , on July 2, 2021

      A youth soccer coach from western Sydney has pleaded guilty to a number of sexual intercourse with child charges as well as child abuse material charges.

      Grant Harden, a 31-year-old from St Clair appeared at Central Local Court via videolink and entered pleas of guilty to 179 charges in total.

      Investigators also allege that he was disseminating child abuse material to a global paedophile network.

      The offences were discovered as a result of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) Operation Arkstone that resulted in 20 men being arrested throughout Australia on more than 1000 charges.

      Harden’s sentencing will occur at a later date.

      What Happened?

      The operation that led to Grant Harden’s arrest has been described as one of Australia’s most significant investigations into child exploitation.

      Magistrate Robert Williams at Central Local Court noted the pleas of guilty to counts of sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 10, sexual touching of a child under 10 and using a carriage service to transmit, publish or promote child abuse.

      Harden was prosecuted under NSW law for the child sexual assault offences and under federal law for the production of child abuse material charges.

      However, there were also a dozen charges – including a bestiality offence – that prosecutors withdrew upon the pleas of guilty to other charges.

      Magistrate Williams imposed an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) for five years on behalf of one of the victims preventing Harden from contacting, assaulting, threatening or intimidating the child. Harden’s Sydney AVO lawyers did not oppose the making of this order.

      Operation Arkstone

      Operation Arkstone stemmed from the arrest of one alleged child sex offender on the Central Coast. A detailed forensic examination of the man’s electronic devices led investigators to online forums which were being used to share child abuse material.AFP acting commander child protection operations Christopher Woods spoke to media outlets in November 2020 about Operation Arkstone. He labelled the operation ‘unprecedented’.

      The AFP had spent most of 2020 investigating and charging suspects and following detailed and meticulous analysis of the thousands of videos and photographs uncovered.

      “These men allegedly produced child abuse material for the depraved pleasure of their peers with absolutely no thought to the lasting effects their actions would have on these children,” Acting Commander Woods said.

      In addition to investigations across Australia, Operation Arkstone led to 146 tip-offs to authorities in North America, Asia and Europe.

      Sexual Intercourse with Child Lawyers

      Section 66A of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) sets out that engaging in sexual intercourse with a child is an offence.

      You can fight asexual intercourse with a child charge in two ways. Firstly, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt:

      1. You had sexual intercourse with the alleged victim; and
      2. The alleged victim was a child

      The following defences to sexual intercourse with a child charges can be used:

      1. Honest and reasonable mistake: if you are charged with ‘Sexual intercourse with child between 14-16 years’, it is a defence that you held an honest and reasonable belief that the alleged victim was above the legal age of consent;
      2. Identification: The Crown cannot establish beyond reasonable doubt that you were the offender;

      Consent is not a defence as a child cannot give consent to sexual activity of any kind.

      An offence of ‘Sexual intercourse with child between 14-16 years’ carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment of 10 years. There is no standard non-parole period (SNPP)

      The maximum penalty for ‘Sexual intercourse with child between 10-14 years’ carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 16 years. The standard non-parole period is 7 years imprisonment

      Child sexual assault charges are extremely serious. The stigma that comes with them is likely to follow a person for the rest of their life. That is why it is important to obtain advice from a specialist sexual assault lawyer who has successfully defended hundreds of these charges. You can contact Astor Legal on (02) 7804 2823 or email us at info@astorlegal.com.au.

      Looking at statistics for child sexual assault sentencing over the last 5 years, it is unsurprising to see that over 80% of persons found guilty of sexual intercourse with a child were sentenced to full-time imprisonment.  You can view come recent cases where our sexual intercourse with child lawyers were able to have charges dismissed by clicking here.

      Plainly, jail is very likely for this offence. Recent sentencing amendments have done away with suspended sentences, which further increased the likelihood of a term of imprisonment being imposed if you are found or plead guilty.

      Comments are closed.

      Ask a question now!