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May 8, 2021

Casino father to stand trial over allegedly grooming 15 year-old girl for sex

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A Casino father who allegedly tried to groom a 15 year-old girl for sex using social media from his marital home will stand trial in the District Court next year.

Jacob Lee Benn appeared in Lismore Local Court this week and was represented by his solicitor Peter Walsh.

The 30 year-old father is charged with using a carriage service to solicit child pornography, using a carriage service to send indecent material to a person under 16 years and using a carriage service to groom a person under 16 years-old for sex.

Between between November 20, 2016, and the day before his arrest, June 14, police allege Mr Benn sent various message via Facebook messenger to the 15-year-old girl with the intention of having sex with her.

During their communications, it is alleged Mr Benn told the girl not to reveal his identity.

After the girl complained to police an investigation was launched and Mr Benn was arrested by detectives from the State Crime Command’s Child Exploitation Unit on June 15.

He was granted strict conditional bail to reside at Casino and not to contact or approach the girl or go to her school.

Mr Benn must not use the ‘social media websites Facebook, Snapchat, Facebook messenger or Instagram for any reason what so ever.’

He was also ordered not to have direct contact with any person younger than 16 except for his immediate family.

This week the court heard the evidence against Mr Benn, including an electronic exhibit which an expert will give evidence about, had been served on the defence.

Mr Benn is yet to enter a plea to any of the charges.

Magistrate David Heilpern adjourned Mr Benn’s matters until February 5, when he will appear before the Lismore District Court to be arraigned to stand trial.

He remains on strict conditional bail until that date.


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