Hinch Says

Gender Equality?

Diane Brimble: ‘Evil woman’ Photo Courtesy of: Andy Brownbill Herald Sun

THERE IS A COMMON complaint, mostly from males and not always unjustified, that female sex offenders get treated more leniently by our courts than males do.

Not only for sex offenders. In murder cases, child-killing and domestic assault cases as well.

(When it involves an attractive schoolteacher and a 15-year-old pupil, the ‘Mrs. Robinson’ syndrome often kicks in: ‘Cor, what a lucky kid. Wish my teacher  was like that’.)

There are two court cases in the news this week that are worth watching.  One involves a 47-year-old teacher whose sexual obsession with a ten-year-old boy was such that she had his name tattooed on her chest.

I’ll get to that one in a minute. The other: the gross physical abuse of a young boy by 41-year-old Julie Sevigny. Cruelty and grotesque punishment,  that a judge said ‘simply beggars belief’.

During three days of sustained abuse, Sevigny forced dog excrement into the boy's mouth, made him drink her urine and then poured it over his head.

After the battered child woke from an induced coma in the Royal Children's Hospital, he had more than 200 bruises on his body, his face was misshapen,  his eyes swollen so much he could not see and there were ulcers and cuts to his mouth.

In County Court, Judge Lisa Hannan said: ‘Any right-minded person will be sickened by your actions.  How you could offend against a vulnerable ... child in this manner simply beggars belief. This was not an isolated incident of lack of control. It was a course of conduct over a period of three days. You assaulted a child in circumstances where your conduct was calculated and ongoing. You showed no remorse for his physical or emotional wellbeing’.

Judge Hannah sentenced Sevigny to four years and nine months jail with a minimum of three years/ three months. She said the sentence was lighter because the woman pleaded and had no prior convictions.

A teacher’s obsession

And then there’s the case of Diane Brimble, a 47-year-old Hamilton schoolteacher obsessed with a 10-year-old primary school pupil.

The mother of eight,  drove the child to her house, exposed her breasts and offered sex.

According to County Court Judge Mark Taft: ‘He said he wasn’t old enough to have sex and she said “You are when you’re at my house”’.

Brimble’s obsession with the boy was such that not only did she have his name and an infinity sign tattooed on her chest but, when his desperate parents changed communities, she tried to visit his new school and enrol her own children there.

The boy’s father described Brimble as an ‘evil woman’ and said ‘I feel sick every time I think of my son’s name tattooed on to her body’.

Judge Taft said: I remain entirely bewildered by Ms Brimble's psycho-sexual profile and her motive. It's an unusual case and I find her conduct as bizarre as I have ever seen in a courtroom. This is a criminal offence, not an excess of maternal sentiment. You don't seek to have sex with your children’.

Refreshingly, the judge was not impressed by a pyschological report tendered by Brimble’s lawyer, Jennifer Clark.

He said it did not help and was essentially barracking for her.

A jury convicted Brimble of one count of committing an indecent act on a child under 16. She was acquitted of five other charges.

If this were a male teacher you would expect he would be jailed. It is unlikely to happen.

Prosecutor Patrick Bourke argued that Brimble should be convicted  and be given treatment under a community corrections order  and be placed on the sex offenders register.

Brimble will be sentenced on Thursday.


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