CONVICTED pedophile priest James Fletcher maintained his innocence on nine child sex offences at a sentencing hearing yesterday and lodged an appeal against the convictions.
The issue of contrition was irrelevant because of Fletcher’s position that he did not sexually assault an altar boy repeatedly between 1989 and 1991, his barrister told Judge Christopher Armitage during the hour-long hearing in Gosford District Court.
The judge will hand down the sentence in Sydney on April 11 after reviewing some of the country’s most notorious child sex offenders, including Robert “Dolly” Dunn, who is serving a 20-year minimum jail sentence for molesting eight children over seven years.
Ian Barker, QC, for Fletcher, argued the Dunn and other notorious pedophile cases were “of a different dimension to the present case”.
The Fletcher convictions involved one victim, his age of 13 and 14 when the offences took place and the long period since they happened.
Mr Barker said mitigating factors were public humiliation and the lack of a victim impact statement for the judge to consider long-term trauma to the victim.
Crown prosecutor Gary Corr rejected the arguments, saying Fletcher refused to accept guilt and rehabilitation was not a consideration.
He said Fletcher planned so the offences took place “with a great degree of ease and little chance of being detected”.
Judge Armitage questioned Mr Barker’s argument that the lack of a victim impact statement was a mitigating factor in Fletcher’s favour.
In evidence about the first time he was molested by Fletcher, the victim said it was “excruciating and he’d never felt anything like it”.
“He made it abundantly plain he was traumatised,” Judge Armitage said.
The prosecution said an appeal against the convictions would be heard by the Court of Criminal Appeal in May.
EX-PRIEST: James Fletcher has appealed against sex abuse convictions.