Yass paedophile Leon Michael Wicks has been sentenced to a further two months in jail after being convicted for sexual behaviour in public places.
The 51-year-old pleaded guilty to two counts of behaving in an offensive manner and one count of wilful and obscene exposure, during a hearing in Yass Local Court on Monday.
He had previously pleaded not guilty to these charges.
He continued to contest a fourth charge of failing to comply with reporting obligations as part of the sex offender’s register. This charge was brought because he failed to declare his membership of the Yass Services Club, which involves child participation.
Wicks is currently serving 21 months jail for possessing child pornography on his home computers.
The court heard police raided his Yass home on December 16 last year and seized an internet-ready laptop, which is prohibited for people on the Child Protection Register, a camera, a camera SD card, two computer towers and USB thumb-drives for examination.
The hardware contained a number of images of young boys in sexually explicit activities.
The camera contained images of Wicks and two other adult males in various poses and states of undress on the Taemas Bridge near Wee Jasper on December 4 between 2-3.21pm. Police found more images of the other two males appearing to have sex on the Yass Junction Railway Station platform on December 4 between 3.53pm and 4.23pm. Although he did not appear in them, police believe Wicks was the photographer.
Defence counsel Jessica Clarke argued Wicks’ failure to declare the club membership was an issue of interpretation, as the club’s membership was not open to children and her client had deemed it irrelevant to declare. Wicks also had a reasonable excuse because he had no assistance by police when filling out the declaration forms.
Magistrate Doug Dick disagreed, saying Wicks had a “good idea as to what the club was about” as he was a long-term member and had even served on the board of directors for nine years. He said Wicks was a man of intelligence but “it’s clear he employed a narrow interpretation” of the relevancy of the club considering he knew it was used by schools for sporting activities, members regularly dined there with their children and it even had a video arcade room designed to entertain children.
“He can be guilty by omission,” Magistrate Dick said. The law required full disclosure on Wicks’ behalf and it was up to the police to filter the relevance of his answers.
Prosecuting sergeant Chris Toole submitted a prison term was appropriate as “these are not your run-of-the-mill types” of obscene exposure offences – these men had been engaging in sex in public places, in particular, when a train was approaching.
Magistrate Dick convicted Wicks on all four offences.
“I don’t believe your failings [to declare club membership] were motivated by any sinister intention.” He applied two-month prison sentences to all four charges, to run concurrently. Wicks is now due to be released on parole in May next year.
He will remain on the Child Protection Register until 2020.