Natasha Rudra August 21, 2012
A sex offender who was jailed for failing to update his details with police will be freed in September after partly succeeding in an appeal.
Steven Adam Weston, 52, was convicted in NSW for inciting a child to commit an act of indecency in 2006 and was required to register as a sex offender when he moved to Canberra two years later.
He was also required to report any changes in his personal details but twice failed to tell police when he changed addresses last year - a crime under child sex offenders' legislation.
In the ACT Magistrates Court in November, Weston was sentenced to a year's jail but appealed to the Supreme Court.
His legal team argued the sentence was manifestly excessive, the sentencing magistrate had failed to allow a discount for the plea of guilty and there was no consideration of other sentencing options.
The court heard Weston had sought to enrol in the territory's adult sex offender program but was deemed unsuitable and had previously threatened Corrective Services staff.
Weston explained his failure to report to police by saying he had been working seven days a week at the time of the offence and had a string of bad luck with housing.
He was evicted from his home at Latham in July last year because his room was messy and moved to another house, which was sold shortly afterwards, subsequently forcing Weston to live for a month in his car at Kambah.
Police found him in late July. In a judgment handed down yesterday, Acting Chief Justice Richard Refshauge said Weston's failure to report changes of address was ''blatant disobedience'' of the law but noted the man's living arrangements had been disrupted through no fault of his own.
The judge said he could not find Weston deliberately failed to report but said he was a serial offender when it came to reporting and had been aggressive and uncooperative with authorities.
He said the original sentence was not manifestly excessive but should be structured differently to take into account the plea of guilty.
Acting Chief Justice Refshauge found the appeal should be partly upheld.
He confirmed the original 12-month prison sentence but ordered it to be suspended from September 10 with a good-behaviour order for a year.
The judge also found that the sentencing magistrate had erred in placing a suppression order on Weston's name and on the fact that he was a registered sex offender.
Acting Chief Justice Refshauge said there was no statutory power in the current case which required the court to depart from the principles of open justice.
He declined to order the suppression of Weston's name or to order that the matter be heard in closed court.
''I accept that this means details on the register may become public as, indeed, will the fact that Mr Weston is a registrable offender,'' he wrote.
''That is a natural consequence of his prosecution.''