A man convicted of attempting to groom a girl for sex has avoided jail.

Kerry Stevens, 57, was convicted of attempted sexual grooming and sentenced to three months' home detention by Judge Michael Behrens.

Stevens met his victim through a school run. The girl believed he was related to a friend and started catching rides with him.

During the trips, Stevens would make cigarettes and tobacco available to his passengers.


On November 16, 2010, an explicit text message conversation started up between Stevens and the girl and he invited her to partake in sexual acts with him. Text messages were sent from the girl's phone by a male friend who encouraged him to use the language and make the suggestions made.

The girl did not send or read the texts and had no knowledge of them.

The next day, he invited the girl to his house to view the text messages, offering her alcohol and cigarettes and a ride home again if she came. The girl refused. Stevens later said he'd had too much to drink.

Stevens' lawyer Stephen Ross said he'd been caught out as to what he was thinking by sending the texts, but his actions after that were modest.

Although there was an attempt, he never got to the point of grooming.

Stevens also had an alcohol problem, he said.

Judge Behrens told Stevens that he would not send him to jail, despite the recommendations of his pre-sentence report and submissions made by police prosecutor sergeant Steve Butler.

The girl's victim impact statement shows that the girl had her whole year "turned upside down" by what happened. "I'm not sure how much she appreciated at the time, but the consequences of what you did have been affecting her behaviour and her happiness. She has been depressed," Judge Behrens said.

The girl did not actually see the texts, but became aware of the nature of them. "You were prepared to try and get her involved for your own satisfaction, and that is the basis of the criminality of what you did here."

Judge Behrens attached special conditions to Stevens' sentence, including that he must not contact his victim directly or indirectly, and must not use or own a cellphone for the duration of his sentence. "I think that should bring home to you the seriousness of what happened here. It will be an inconvenience to you, but I think it's proper."

However, he did remove a condition that would have prohibited Stevens from coming into contact with anyone under the age of 16 without prior written consent from probation. Mr Ross said Stevens had grandchildren and Judge Behrens agreed it was "over the top", saying in the circumstances it was not necessary, and he had no prior convictions.

"I think you have learned your lesson."