Do you agree with the court’s approach? If not, how should it have reasoned?

In the online child grooming case of R v Gajjar [2008] VSCA 268 (18 December 2008), the Victorian Court of Appeal was asked to consider arguments that the sentence imposed was excessive, considering the fact there had been no actual child involved, with police instead posing as 14-year-old ‘Lisa’, and that there had been a degree of entrapment. The court responded, at [44]–[46]:

It has been observed, correctly in our view, that the fact that there was no actual child victim in this case does not of itself exclude imprisonment as a sentencing outcome. The offence is designed to be preventive. It is likely to be detected only through the use of undercover police techniques.

We reject the submission that there was an element of entrapment in what occurred. This was not a case of an ‘unwary innocent’. The appellant voluntarily logged on to this chat room and was more than forthcoming in the dialogue that ensued.

It is true that the planned meeting did not proceed. However, the offence was complete long before the appellant and ‘Lisa’ were due to meet.

Do you agree with the court’s approach? If not, how should it have reasoned?

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