Disgraced former NSW Labor MP Milton Orkopoulos has avoided jail for flouting his reporting obligations as a convicted child sex offender, after a magistrate said the court’s power to impose a harsher sentence was “fettered”.
On Wednesday Local Court Magistrate Philip Stewart sentenced Orkopoulos to a two-year community correction order after convicting him of one count of failing to comply with his reporting obligations under the Child Protection (Offenders Registration) Act.
The charge related to the use of a non-authorised mobile phone with internet access to call his lawyer and his sister. This was a breach of his obligation to report to police details of “any carriage service used, or intended to be used” by him.
Orkopoulos pleaded guilty. During the sentencing process, the magistrate also took into account four other breaches, including setting up an Instagram account and speaking briefly to a child while on the phone to another adult.
The former MP was released on parole in December last year after serving 11½ years of his prison term of 13 years and eight months for sex offences against teenage boys and supplying them with drugs.
“Given the offender’s demonstrated attitude of ambivalence to his reporting obligations … I am unable to find that he is unlikely to reoffend,” Mr Stewart said.
He said 12 months’ imprisonment would “sheet home” to Orkopoulos the importance of compliance, and he was “not satisfied” the community would be protected by a non-custodial sentence when Orkopolous offended while on parole.
However, under the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act, the Local Court was prevented from imposing a new term of imprisonment “in circumstances where the offender is serving a sentence of 5 years or more”. Orkopoulos’ existing sentence does not expire until next year.
“The unintended consequence … is that a person serving a lengthy sentence can avoid further custodial penalty when dealt with in the Local Court, whereas a person with a less significant record or no record at all could be imprisoned,” Mr Stewart said.
“This effectively provides impunity for some offenders on parole serving lengthy sentences, including Mr Orkopoulos,” he said.
Under the community correction order, Orkopoulos is not allowed to use an internet-enabled phone, must abstain from drug use, and must continue participating in rehabilitation programs.
The breaches of reporting obligations were considered parole breaches by the State Parole Authority and Orkopoulos’ parole was revoked until the matters were dealt with in court.
Sourced By: Sydney Morning Herald