5 August 2023

Man sentenced to prison for sexually abusing friend's daughters in their own home

| Claire Fenwicke
ACT Law Courts

Sithu Naing was sentenced in the ACT Supreme Court. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

A man who inappropriately touched the pre-pubescent daughters of his friend has been sentenced to spend at least 18 months behind bars.

A jury found Sithu Naing guilty of five counts of an act of indecency on a person under 16 years on 6 February 2023, in regards to two sisters when they were 11 and 13 years of age.

The girls’ father submitted a victim impact statement in which he told the court Naing had been a friend for more than 10 years and had taken advantage of his family’s trust.

“During the period he was assaulting my daughters he continued to attend our family home on almost a weekly basis, attending our family’s events including the birthday celebrations of our children, without guilt or remorse,” the father’s statement said.

“My daughters should never have had to go through this, no child or family should ever have to experience this pain.”

Naing’s wife also submitted a statement to the court, in which she said her family missed Naing and they had been “struggling to get through each day” since his arrest.

“I am struggling to pay the bills and have fallen behind in paying them,” she said.

“[Naing] is a good person, and we earnestly hope that he will be released from prison and return home to us soon.”

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Naing’s defence barrister Stephen Robinson submitted his client’s offending was “unplanned, opportunistic and unsophisticated” as he didn’t befriend the family with the purpose to groom or abuse the children.

According to the published judgement, Mr Robinson submitted the offences occurred when Naing was “black out drunk” and the behaviour was out of character, as he didn’t realise his intoxication made him “interested in young girls”.

He acknowledged Naing hadn’t expressed remorse for his crimes, but that was because Naing had only “recently” begun admitting to himself he had done the wrong thing.

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Naing had already spent six months in custody prior to his sentencing.

ACT Supreme Court Justice Chrissa Loukas-Karlsson ultimately found the 47-year-old should spend more time behind bars.

“An alternative to full-time custody is not appropriate in my view due to the seriousness of the offending against two young girls,” she said.

Naing was sentenced to three years imprisonment, backdated to account for time already spent in custody.

A non-parole period of 18 months was also applied, meaning Naing will first be eligible for release on 2 August 2024.

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