December 16, 2019

Judge promises David Hogg sentence at June hearing

A CLINICAL psychologist told a Sydney court on Friday that Lifestyle Solutions founder David Hogg was anxious and depressed about the prospect of going to jail.

In a sentencing hearing at Downing Centre District Court before Judge Antony Townsend, clinical psychologist Sam Borenstein said Mr Hogg had been “coping well . . . until his world was turned upside down” when he was found guilty in February.

Mr Hogg outside Downing Centre courts on Friday with his solicitor Hugo Aston.

Hogg found guilty

But prosecutor Andrew Metcalfe said Mr Hogg was “no different to anyone else” facing the likelihood of jail.

Mr Hogg, 65, was found guilty in February of a single count of sexual intercourse without consent (by digital penetration) in July 1988. He he was a married 35-year-old Baptist minister. His victim, Helen McMaugh (then Helen Cassis) was a 16-year-old schoolgirl in his care.

Mr Hogg’s defence team is pushing for a non-custodial sentence but Judge Townsend has said previously that this was unlikely.

In its sentencing submission, the prosecution said the maximum penalty at the time was eight years if the victim was over 16 and 10 years if under 16. Ms McMaugh was 16 years and one month old.

The prosecution submission included commentary on previous convictions dating from the late 1980s – some sentenced before the mid-1990s, and others more recent “cold cases” – in which the offenders were sentenced to between three and seven years, with some terms later reduced on appeal.

It said that given the circumstances of the offence – the victim’s age at the time and the impact on her, the nature of the assault, the age difference, the degree of planning and the breach of trust – Mr Hogg’s conduct was in the “mid-range of seriousness”.

Hogg case hears victim impact statement

Although it was a first offence, Mr Hogg’s “good character [was] of “limited mitigation value” given it was this good character that gave him “trust and authority” over his victim originally.

Judge Townsend adjourned the hearing until 2pm on Friday, June 15, saying he would give his decision on the day.

Hugo Aston

Barrister | Arbitrator | Mediator
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