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Woman to be sentenced over online sexual relationship with Mooroopna boy

By Ashlea Witoslawski

The defence counsel of a Queensland woman charged with having an online sexual relationship with a Mooroopna boy has made submissions to a judge ahead of the woman’s sentencing.

Kirsty Florence Condon, 27, a mother-of-two from Toowoomba, appeared at the County Court in Shepparton yesterday having pleaded guilty to charges relating to an online relationship with the boy, who was between 14 and 15 at the time.

Crown prosecutor Olivia Go had told the court Condon was 24 when she met the boy online while playing video game Grand Theft Auto.

The court heard Condon and the boy began chatting through an application on XBox Messenger and later progressed to other social media messaging platforms as well as telephone and video calls.

Ms Go told the court the pair was involved in a relationship of a highly sexualised nature for about 5 months between December 2016 and May 2017.

The boy’s mother made contact with the woman and on May 19, 2017. The boy attended Shepparton police station and provided evidence of the relationship between him and Condon during the time of offending, including thousands of messages between the two.

In September last year, Condon participated in a voluntary interview at Toowoomba police station where she made full admission to the charges.

Defence counsel James FitzGerald submitted to Judge Bill Stuart that it was a case in which an order promoting good behaviour should be considered.

‘‘I’m not in any way attempting to minimise the seriousness of the incidents,’’ Mr FitzGerald said.

‘‘It is clear the impacts have been significant.’’

Mr FitzGerald said Condon accepted the wrongfulness of her actions early, showing the possibility of rehabilitation.

‘‘There is no minimisation in what I say and no minimisation from Ms Condon’s point of view either,’’ he said.

Mr FitzGerald said the woman had no prior convictions and had not offended since the online relationship ended.

He said the offending occurred due to a particular set of circumstances taking place in Condon’s life, particularly an abusive and dysfunctional relationship with her children’s father.

Mr FitzGerald said the woman had sought help with her mental health, having organised a mental health plan.

‘‘There are clearly all sorts of underlying issues that need addressing,’’ he said.

‘‘Those matters need to be addressed by her.’’

While discussing the psychology report conducted on Condon, Judge Stuart identified the fact that the woman ‘‘knew what she was doing’’.

‘‘She’s made a series of informed choices and she’s carried on,’’ Judge Stuart said.

Mr FitzGerald said there was ‘‘a significant lack of aggravated features’’, as no physical sexual acts took place between the pair.

He suggested Condon would benefit from a sentence that either avoided jail time entirely, or involved a short stint in custody followed by community rehabilitation, such as a sexual offence course.

‘‘If she goes into immediate custody, she will be separated from her children,’’ Mr FitzGerald said.

Judge Stuart said the case was complex and would require moderation.

‘‘I intend to look to the objective gravity of the events,’’ he said.

Condon pleaded guilty to two charges of using a carriage service to procure a person under 16, two charges of using a carriage service for sexual activity with a person under 16 and one charge of using a carriage service to transmit indecent communication to a person under 16.

Kirsty Condon leaves the Shepparton Law Courts after yesterday's hearing.

In prosecution submissions, Ms Go presented two victim impact statements from the boy and his mother, describing the impact the relationship had on their lives.

The court heard the boy had been struggling with his mental health during the time of offending, withdrawing from public life and becoming suicidal.

The hearing continues today.

If you need support, phone Kids Helpline on 1800551800, Lifeline on 131114, the suicide callback service on 1300659467 or visit ReachOut.com