CONVICTED paedophile Steven Larkins walked free from court on Thursday after his appeal against a 12-month jail term for failing to comply with reporting obligations of the child protection register and for breaching a good behaviour bond imposed for indecently assaulting two boys in the 1990s was upheld in Newcastle District Court on Thursday.
Larkins, 50, who was the subject of the child abuse royal commission’s first case study in 2013, was sentenced to 12 months jail with a non-parole period of nine months in Raymond Terrace Local Court in December last year.
The former Scout leader and Chief Executive of the Hunter Aboriginal Children’s Services had pleaded guilty to failing to tell authorities he was using two social media applications, a breach of his reporting conditions on the child protection register and a three-year good behaviour bond imposed in Newcastle Local Court in 2012.
It had also been a breach of a two-year Commonwealth recognizance release order, which Judge John North noted was imposed after Larkins made an intentionally false statement in a statutory declaration, which he said “could have led to him not being properly policed and therefore have given him access to young people”.
But after spending 26 days in jail, Larkins appealed the severity of his sentence and was released on bail.
On Thursday, he claimed the jail term was “excessive”, arguing the good behaviour bond imposed for the aggravated indecent assault of two boys under the age of 16 had one week remaining when the breach occurred.
He also claimed he had only used social media application Instagram to source photographs and material to prepare for the funeral of a family member.
He said he had used “WeChat” to communicate with a transgender female from Texas, who he had formed a relationship with.
Judge North sentenced him to a 12-month suspended jail term and extended the recognizance order for a further 15 months.