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Intellectually disabled man faces sex sentence

A man who admitted two sex offences against a 13-year-old schoolgirl is be sentenced at Magistrates' Court next week.

Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe signalled that Khayriek Woolridge, 27, would probably be sentenced to time served after he spent five months on remand.

Woolridge, from Smith's, pleaded guilty on February 17 to two counts of committing an indecent act in front of a child aged under 14.

He performed a sex act in front of the girl on April 9 last year at a bus stop in Devonshire.

Woolridge also exposed himself to the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, at the same bus stop the day before.

He appeared in Magistrates' Court on November 12 last year and denied the offences, but changed his plea and was remanded in custody.

The court heard that Woolridge suffered from an intellectual disability as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which made it difficult for him to control his impulses.

Maria Sofianos, the Crown prosecutor, said that Woolridge's sentence should have “an aspect of rehabilitation”.

But she added that he was aware of his actions and was still at moderate risk of reoffending.

Ms Sofianos said: “It is the humble submission of the Crown that the defendant knew what he was doing was wrong.

“Notwithstanding his mental health challenges, there is no explanation that can excuse his distasteful acts.”

Ms Sofianos asked that Woolridge's time on remand should be counted towards his sentence and that he should serve at least three years on probation.

She also asked that his name be added to the sex offender registry.

Elizabeth Christopher, for the defence, said that a sex offender registry listing would be too harsh given Woolridge's problems.

She asked the court: “It looks like he's going to be in care, effectively, for the rest of his life — do we really need to have him on a sexual offender's registry under those circumstances?

“Is that realistically going to happen? Do we really need to impose that judgment?”

Ms Christopher added: “To me, he's like a child who, in these circumstances, does accept that he did wrong.

“Is he nuanced enough to get exactly what makes it so egregious? No, he doesn't.

“But those are things that are going to be worked on and I just don't think that he should be punished for that.”

Ms Christopher said that Woolridge should be sent to Mental Health Court to seek treatment.

Mr Wolffe adjourned the case until Wednesday.

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Published July 11, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated July 11, 2020 at 8:52 am)

Intellectually disabled man faces sex sentence

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