Truck driver Brett James Hartley-Kennett thought he had been chatting with a 14-year-old girl called ‘Amy’. He wasn’t.
According to court documents, the 27-year-old was planning to meet Amy for sex after pestering her for nude photos.
With the username ‘fullycol’, he had been talking to the girl over Snapchat and eventually suggested they should meet up.
He had introduced the topic of sex into their conversations, saying things like “drunk sex is sooo good”.
He suggested he could come over to her house when her mum was at work or they could meet somewhere else.
Amy said she would be embarrassed because she would not know what to do, but Hartley-Kennett replied that when he had been with other girls he took the lead, so they felt more relaxed and were able to trust him.
She asked for details of what would happen if they did see each other in person.
“You will have to find out when we hang out,” he said.
He repeatedly pressured her to send him naked photos of herself. He said he would send her a nude in return.
Before they were to meet, he asked her if she wanted to lose her virginity, and if she wanted to lose it with him.
But on the night of 24 July 2020, when Hartley-Kennett drove a blue tow truck to the netball courts in Stirling expecting to see her, the Australian Federal Police arrested him.
He would learn that ‘Amy’ was not, in fact, a real 14-year-old girl at all, but was an undercover police officer who had been using a fake identity.
Hartley-Kennett eventually pleaded guilty to charges of using a carriage service to solicit child abuse material and using a carriage service to procure a person under 16, for which he faced a maximum of 15 years in jail.
After he was arrested, he had told police that when he went to meet the girl he did not intend on doing anything with her, he only planned to hang out with her as friends.
But during the sentencing in the ACT Supreme Court on Friday (30 April), Justice John Burns said he had “no doubt” Hartley-Kennett sent the messages and drove to the “relatively secluded location” of the netball courts with the hope of engaging in sexual activity with Amy.
He said it was a serious example of this type of offending, and the fact the girl had been an undercover police officer and not a real 14-year-old made it no less serious.
The court documents showed Hartley-Kennett first contacted Amy in June 2020 and continued to talk to her through July, even after he knew she was 14. He lied about his age, saying he was 22.
Justice Burns said due to publicity over the case, Hartley-Kennett had received death threats and had become socially isolated.
He said testimonies from Hartley-Kennett’s family and friends aware of the charges said the offences were out of character, and that he was a supportive and caring person who was devoted to his family.
He also said Hartley-Kennett has Klinefelter syndrome, which meant he had a moderate intellectual delay and could not father children. Justice Burns accepted the condition would make him more vulnerable in custody.
A clinical psychologist said he was not suffering a mental illness at the time of his offending, but did experience some symptoms of depression.
Hartley-Kennett spent 21 days in custody for his offences prior to Friday.
Justice Burns sentenced him to a total of 13 months in jail, with six months to be spent in full-time custody before he is released in October 2021.
The remainder of his sentence will be suspended and he must be of good behaviour for two years.