School counsellor had sex with boy he met on Grindr
A DISTRICT Court judge has slammed a magistrate for the "manifestly inadequate" sentence she gave to a former school counsellor who had sex with a 14-year-old boy he met on dating app Grindr.
District Court judge Deborah Richards said in her decision handed down on Friday, that the Magistrate Deborah Vasta had "placed too much emphasis" on the fact that the boy "was not coerced" by Lucien John Lloyd-West, who was 24 years older.
"The sentence is clearly manifestly inadequate," Judge Richards ruled.
Judge Richards set aside the 18 months' prison sentence given to Lloyd-West for the charge of grooming and instead sentenced him to 30 months in prison.
But the sentence was suspended after two months in prison, which Lloyd-West has already served.
Lloyd-West pleaded guilty to 10 charges of indecent treatment of a child under 16 and one offence of grooming a child under 16 on 24 November last year at Cleveland Magistrates Court.
The Director of Public Prosecutions appealed the sentence arguing Magistrate Vasta "gave too much weight to the" schoolboys "consenting attitude" as a factor mitigating the culpability of Lloyd-West and she failed to properly appreciate the objective seriousness of the offending.
Lloyd-West met the boy after he messaged the boy on the gay dating app Grindr on 8 August 2017.
The boy told Lloyd-West he was 14 and told him he was looking for sex with an older
man, and they continued exchanging messages and photos via Snapchat.
Four days after they first exchanged messages Lloyd-West picked up the boy from outside a local restaurant and they had a sexual encounter in a car and a toilet block.
On August 15 they had a sexual encounter in a car outside the boy's school while he took a break from his "after school art class".
Later they had sex in bushland.
On August 23 police arrested Lloyd-West in a sting operation at a shopping centre, when he thought he was meeting the boy.
Magistrate Vasta sentenced Lloyd-West on the basis that the boy was a "willing, active, eager 14-year-old" who was "actively engaged in it".
Judge Richards found that Lloyd-West should have been "well aware of the vulnerabilities of teenagers" given he had worked as a "school counsellor".
She said Lloyd-West "should have been aware of the need to protect young impressionable minds" because he had studied psychology.
Lloyd-West suffered from bipolar.
He had previously worked as a photographer at a resort on Moreton Island, taught English in Japan for three years, worked on a cruise ship and then worked at Officeworks.