An Australia mayor and former MP found guilty last week of having sex with a 12-year-old girl and taking pornographic pictures of her won’t face a prison sentence after the judge ruled his Parkinson’s medication and the girl’s mature appearance were to blame.
Glenorchy Mayor Terry Martin pleaded not guilty to sex with a minor, arguing he believed the girl was 18 because, he said, he met her by answering a sex worker ad for: “Angela, 18, new in town.”
But a jury found him guilty, arguing that upon meeting “Angela,” he should have known she was just a child. The girl was being pimped out by her mother and her mother’s friend, both of whom are now behind bars.
On Tuesday, Judge David Porter sentenced him to a 10-month suspended sentence.
“He ought to have known that she was younger than 17. However, the evidence shows that reasonable grounds existed for thinking that the complainant was about 15, possibly 16 years old,” wrote the judge in the ruling.
“Both investigating police officers initially mistook the complainant for her 15-year-old sister, and even when properly identified, and during the course of the investigation, one officer’s assessment of her age was 15 to 16. A police officer involved in youth affairs and with contact with the complainant from August 2008, put the complainant’s age at somewhere between 13 and 15, and a child protection worker with contact with the complainant, also from August 2008, put her age at 15.”
The 54-year-old mayor also argued the dopamine agonist he’d recently started taking for his Parkinson’s caused him to be hypersexual. When his prescription was upped in 2007, he said he started looking at porn, including child porn, and visiting sex workers.
“Mr. Martin’s offending is directly connected to treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Many of the facts are set out in his police interview, but the position is now supported by expert medical evidence submitted after the trial and in the sentencing hearing,” the judge said.