18 November 2021

Trial for man accused of trying to import child-like sex doll ends in hung jury

| Albert McKnight
Jeffrey Scott Deacon

Jeffrey Scott Deacon, 28, leaves court during his trial. Photo: Albert McKnight.

The trial of a man accused of trying to import a child-like sex doll into the country has ended with a hung jury.

On Thursday (18 November), Jeffrey Scott Deacon, 28, heard an ACT Supreme Court jury was unable to come to a unanimous verdict in his case so the charge he tried to import prohibited goods would be dismissed.

During the opening of the four-day trial, Crown prosecutor Ken Archer told the jury that a box came into Australia around September 2020 and was intercepted by the Australian Border Force. It was discovered to contain a sex doll that had “the features of a child”.

When the doll was revealed to the courtroom, it was met with looks of disgust.

It had no clothing, was bald, thin, weighed about 60 kg, and a Border Force investigator showed jurors that its limbs could be moved “in quite a life-like manner”.

“It’s self-evident that is a child,” Mr Archer said during closing submissions while pointing at the doll as it lay on a table.

“That’s a child, represented as a sex toy.”

He alleged Mr Deacon had decided to buy a young-looking sex doll.

READ ALSO Cocaine trafficker bought at least $12,000-worth of drugs to share with friends

After placing the order, he said Mr Deacon had received a confirmation email, describing it to him with an attached photo.

He was asked if he wanted to proceed with the order and he said yes, knowing the doll had young looks, Mr Archer said.

But defence lawyer Sam McLaughlin from Legal Aid said his client never saw the doll “in the flesh”, and never walked into a store to pull it off a shelf to look at it.

He said there was nothing to indicate what he saw before getting the doll, the only evidence was the small picture on a confirmation email and the doll in the photo was of questionable resemblance to the one that arrived.

Mr McLaughlin said Mr Deacon had thought the doll would be tall enough to come up to his shoulders, and while the word “young” was in the confirmation email, Mr McLaughlin said it was a “highly subjective term”.

“How often have we heard a woman’s ‘youthful beauty’ being referred to? It doesn’t mean she’s a child,” he said.

He also questioned if Mr Deacon had been sent the wrong package. He said the doll arrived with items that were not mentioned in the confirmation email.

Mr Archer alleged Mr Deacon’s internet search history suggested he was looking for a doll that appeared like it was under the age of 18, as he was using words like “teen”.

READ ALSO Rapists lose appeal over assaulting woman they met at Mooseheads

He said several websites Mr Deacon visited displayed a “preoccupation” with teen dolls and some made reference to a child or children.

But Mr McLaughlin said there were no searches for terms like “child” or “girl”, and some of the websites might have appeared before him as pop-ups.

His client was trying to look for “a normal adult one” that was “flat-chested”, as well as a “cheap one”, he said.

When the jury returned on Thursday to say it could not come to a unanimous decision, Justice Mossop discharged jury members and ended the trial.

He adjourned the matter to 25 November and directed the doll be returned to the Crown.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.