22 October 2023

Child-sex offender Stephen Mitchell launches appeal against 13-year jail sentence

| Albert McKnight
man in suit

Stephen Leonard Mitchell, 57, was sentenced to more than 13 years’ jail. Photo: Albert McKnight.

CONTENT WARNING: This article refers to childhood sexual abuse.

The former rock-climbing coach who admitted sexually abusing six children has launched an appeal against his jail sentence.

Stephen Leonard Mitchell pleaded guilty to six charges last year, before the ACT Supreme Court sentenced him to a total of 13 years and five months’ jail this May.

His offences spanned more than a decade between the mid-1990s and the late 2000s.

He abused the girls when they were aged between about 10 and 15 when he held various positions that involved working with and coaching children in Canberra.

He was aged between 27 and 41 at the time.

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Justice David Mossop convicted him and handed him a non-parole period of nine years’ jail at his sentencing, which meant he would be able to be released from custody in May 2032.

But documents filed in the ACT Court of Appeal by his lawyer, Peter Woodhouse of Aulich, show the 57-year-old will appeal against the judge’s sentence.

The documents say he had been convicted on three counts of the persistent sexual abuse of a child and he is appealing the sentences he received for each of these counts.

Mitchell will argue that Justice Mossop erred by applying the incorrect and substantially higher maximum penalty to the offences.

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He wants the sentences he received for these counts to be quashed and for him to be re-sentenced.

The matter will next come before the court in February 2024.

Mitchell had been convicted of three counts of the persistent sexual abuse of a child and three counts of committing an act of indecency on a child.

If you need help, or someone you know does, you can contact 1800RESPECT, which is the national domestic and sexual violence support service, by calling 1800 737 732 or by visiting www.1800respect.org.au.

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