A HIGH-RANKING public servant and a successful small business woman will be registered child sex offenders for the next 15 years after they were convicted yesterday of having "sexual activities" in a bed beside a 12-year-old girl.
The Mackay couple, who can not be identified by law, was convicted by a District Court jury, after a two-day trial, of wilfully exposing a child under 16 to sexual activity.
The court heard that the 39-year-old woman, who was separated from her husband, was at home and her 12-year-old daughter was in bed beside her.
Her new boyfriend, aged 40, came over and got into bed with her and sexual activity took place while the 12-year-old girl was awake beside them.
Judge John Baulch, SC, said the type of sexual activity was not known and it was not viewable in detail by the child.
Defence barrister Paddy Cullinane said the child had also testified that she could not tell whether the adult couple was naked, partly clothed or fully clothed.
The man is a high ranking public servant with a State Government department in Mackay and the woman had a diploma and operated several small businesses.
Neither of them had any previous convictions.
It was a highly unusual case, Mr Cullinane said, because the couple did not engage in any acts in front of the child deliberately or gratuitously, but recklessly.
It is believed the case was brought to the attention of police after the girl told her father about the incident.
Crown prosecutor Chris Winlaw said the woman had taken the child to bed with her and knew she was there and the boyfriend woke her up and got into bed, also knowing the child was there.
The case involved a breach of trust by the mother, Mr Winlaw said.
The couple was jailed for six months each, suspended immediately for two years, and convictions were recorded. The recording of convictions means they are now both child sex offenders who have to register with the Australian National Child (Sex) Offenders Registry, known as ANCOR, for the next 15 years.
They have to provide police with details about all their employment, residential, social and other activities and report annually to police until 2026.