A 19-YEAR-OLD has been sentenced for sexual offences he committed when he was a child.
A jury found Adam Masters guilty of sexual assault and inciting a child under 13 to indulge in a sex act when he himself was aged 10 and 11.
The victim was about 18 months younger than him.
Masters, of Pemba Drive, Buckley, denied both offences.
He had been cleared of rape and other sexual offences following two earlier trials.
Judge Philip Hughes, sitting at Mold Crown Court, said that the complexion of the case had changed completely since proceedings began.
It was, he said, a very unusual situation and if he stuck to the guidelines for such offences then it would create an injustice.
Masters was placed on a three-year community order with supervision.
He was ordered to register with the police as a sex offender for the next five years.
And a 10-year restraining order was made under which he is not to contact the victim in any way.
Mr Hughes said that Masters was now 19 and he had been convicted of a sexual assault on a child under 13 and inciting the girl to engage in sexual activity. The victim was aged eight at the time.
The assault involved sexual touching over clothing. There was no contact with the skin, the court heard.
It was ‘an important and unusual feature’ of the case that the offences occurred when the defendant himself was 10 and 11.
There were no offences after that age for which he was to be sentenced.
It may be that he so was young that he was experimenting, Mr Hughes said.
No physical injury had been caused but the victim was emotionally fragile and vulnerable.
What he had done to her was likely to have contributed to childhood difficulties she suffered which she may carry in to adulthood.
However there was evidence that she may have become a troubled child for other reasons.
“I do not attribute all of her problems to what you did to her,” the judge told Masters.
Masters had no previous convictions.
The pre-sentence report showed he was a hard working, settled young man with a supportive family and a long-term partner.
He could not be given credit for guilty pleas because he continued to deny the offences and had blamed his victim, claiming she was lying, which had been rejected by the jury.
Judge Hughes said Masters was a low risk of re-conviction.
He had considered the guidelines for such offences but said that if the sentence he was imposing was seen to depart from the guidelines, then he stressed that was deliberate.
John Wyn Williams, prosecuting, said that Masters originally faced eight offences including the serious offence of rape.
But following a trial he had been cleared of the rapes and in a retrial he had been cleared of further sexual offences.
Only two convictions remained for sentence.
Simon Mintz, defending, said that it was conceded that if he was an adult when he committed the offences then he would be in an extremely serious situation.
But he was under 12 at the time and if it had been detected at the time he probably would not have been prosecuted.
If he had, it was inconceivable that a youth court at the time would have considered a custodial sentence.
The essential point was that he was now 19 being prosecuted for something that he did when he was 11.
That left the court with an unusual and sensitive sentencing exercise, Mr Mintz said.