Warning: This story may be distressing for some readers.
A 21-year-old man has been sentenced to prison for what a magistrate has deemed a "scary" and "unwanted" sexual assault on a woman in her own home.
The man, not named to protect the identity of the victim, appeared at Inverell Local Court on Thursday via audio-visual link from Bathurst Correctional Facility, charged with sexual assault.
He had maintained his innocence throughout the court proceedings, however he was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt during his recent trial.
The court heard the man had entered a woman's home and proceeded to sexually assault her, touching her vagina, in what Magistrate Holly Kemp said must have been a traumatic experience for the woman.
The man was on parole for a different type of crime at the time, which his solicitor Mandy Mackenzie noted aggravated the offending.
But she also said before his arrest, he had been "satisfactorily" completing all supervision requirements, had the full support of his family, and had been attempting to undertake programs for drug and alcohol-related abuse yet had been unable to while in custody.
"He tells [the sentencing assessment report author] that he uses cannabis on a daily basis and on occasion heroin and methamphetamine," Mrs Mackenzie said.
Noting a prison sentence was the only punishment available, she requested a shorter term in full-time custody and a longer parole period in the community to enable him to seek treatments for his drug issues.
Sergeant Mareika Wilkins for the prosecution, said it was a serious example of this type of offence and that it "would have been terrifying for the victim".
She noted while his history didn't include any like offences, it certainly "doesn't give him any leniency", especially since he was on parole at the time.
"Any penalty imposed has to reflect the seriousness of this incident," she said.
Magistrate Kemp agreed that it was a very serious example, noting it involved him entering the woman's house in what was a "scary and unwanted scenario".
She said while the sentencing report was written with his denial of the event, it did place him at medium to high risk of offending again.
"While this tells me that you have not been able to undertake any programs ... there is more work to do around drug use," she said, granting a "modest finding" of special circumstances to shorten the time spent in prison for his rehabilitation in the community.
He was convicted and given a back-dated 16-month custodial sentence with a non-parole period of eight months, and will be eligible for release on February 5, 2022.
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