January 25, 2005

Four second sentence

Daily Telegraph

By VIVA GOLDNER Court Reporter

January 26, 2005

A CATHOLIC priest who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a parishioner was yesterday sentenced to jail - for four seconds.

Father Terence Norman Goodall was convicted for twice assaulting the man, a member of his parish at Gymea in southern Sydney.

District Court judge Philip Bell sentenced Goodall "to the rising of the court" -- which amounted to the four seconds it took to complete the hearing -- despite Judge Bell agreeing the now-retired priest had abused the "trust and authority" of his position.

It came a day after a career criminal's jail sentence was reduced by two months after a judge ruled he had suffered "considerable angst" after he was shot by a police officer.

Explaining yesterday's sentencing, Judge Bell said: "To the rising of the court is technically a sentence of loss of liberty. That is, it is a term of imprisonment. As this court will immediately rise ... the period of being in custody will literally be for a few seconds only.

"Despite its status as a term of custody, [it] is generally regarded as one of the most lenient penalties available to the sentencer."

Posted by kshaw at January 25, 2005 08:27 AM