Rapist has sentence reduced

AN IPSWICH man jailed for raping a 12-year-old Toowoomba girl after meeting her mother on a dating website has had his sentence reduced by 18 months.

But Bryan Desmond Bull was unsuccessful in overturning his rape conviction when he appealed his case in the Queensland Court of Appeal.

Bull was found guilty of rape after a trial in the Ipswich District Court last year, but was acquitted of two other offences.

In challenging the verdict, he argued the conviction was unreasonable and inconsistent with the acquittals, the prosecutor misstated evidence in a critical respect and the judge did not direct the jury that a doubt entertained about the victim's evidence on one count was relevant to the overall assessment of her credibility.

Bull also argued the sentence was manifestly excessive.

Bull, who was 45 at the time, got to know the girl's mother through an internet dating service. They met for the first time on Good Friday, 2007.

The woman drove from Toowoomba to Ipswich for the first date of a short-lived relationship that ended the following July.

A Court of Appeal judgment detailed how the couple spent weekends together and the mother sometimes left her children with him, which is when the rape occurred.

Justice Richard Chesterman said the trial judge had noted the serious emotional impact the offence had upon the girl and her mother.

"He described the rape, correctly, as opportunistic and noted (Bull) had taken advantage of the child for his own sexual gratification," he said.

"He had misused his position of the child's temporary guardian in the absence of her mother.

"The offence occurred when (the girl) was ill and her mother was unable to care for her by reason of her work commitments.

"Although there was no violence involved there was a degree of force.

"(Bull) ignored and overwhelmed (the girl's) reluctance to take part in the activity and pushed her head onto his penis.

"Discerning gradations in depravity is a difficult if not impossible task, as is determining a precise level of punishment for each grade.

"The cases can be no more than indications of available ranges for roughly comparable offending.

"The offending is rightly regarded as serious, but comparison with other like cases indicate that the sentence is excessive."

Three Court of Appeal justices unanimously agreed to reduce Bull's sentence from five years to three-and-a-half.

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