THE Department of Public Prosecutions is appealing the sentence handed to Echuca child sex fiend Fabian Meharry.
In March, Meharry, 28, was sentenced to 12 years’ jail for sexually abusing more than 20 girls, all aged under 17.
Victoria’s Director of Public Prosecutions John Champion yesterday lodged an appeal in the Court of Appeals on the grounds the sentence was manifestly inadequate.
The sentence, which took into account the 18 months he had already served in custody, included a non-parole period of 10 years.
Meharry pleaded guilty in Victoria’s County Court to 62 charges including rape, sexual penetration of a child under 16, grooming and child pornography which occurred between 2006 and 2015.
The Office of Public Prosecutions said in a statement that prosecutors would argue that ‘‘the individual sentences, the total effective sentence and non-parole period were manifestly inadequate’’.
Meharry, a former BMX rider, contacted girls on social media and befriended them, before initiating sexually-explicit conversations and then requesting naked images of them.
He then blackmailed them into performing degrading and painful sexual acts on themselves online and secretly videoed them which he also used to further blackmail them.
The girls were aged between 11 and 17.
County Court Judge Liz Gaynor described Meharry as a ‘‘monster of depravity’’ who deliberately targeted young girls because they could be exploited to do what he wanted.
When his victims refused to perform sexual acts according to his instructions via webcam or Skype, he would threaten to publish the photos online or to send them directly to their families.
‘‘It was as if you saw the internet as providing you with a vast array of vulnerable teenagers whom you could prey upon, exploit and terrorise, as the whim took you,’’ Judge Gaynor said.
‘‘The demands you made were delivered in the most callous and overbearing and bullying manner. You appeared to relish the power you had over them.’’
Judge Gaynor said the victims had been traumatised — suffering anxiety, depression, nightmares, guilt and chronic insecurity, while one of the girls suffered a miscarriage.
She said Meharry had ‘‘poor’’ prospects for rehabilitation and placed him on the sex offenders’ register for life.