Child rapist Van Ryn has sentence almost doubled on appeal

Maurice Van Ryn

Maurice Van Ryn

Maurice Van Ryn has had his sentence for child sex abuse nearly doubled on appeal to a minimum 13 years and six months with the state's highest court describing the original judgment as "an affront to the administration of justice".

The father of one of the former Bega Cheese CEO's victim's shouted "yes!" as the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal handed down the decision, following an appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Van Ryn was convicted of 17 child sex offences committed against nine victims over an 11 year period from 2003 to 2014.

The attacks included raping a 15-year-old boy, repeatedly performing oral sex on another and molesting and indecently assaulting other children, often after grooming them with gifts and sweets.

At earlier hearings, Van Ryn told the court he had a paraphiliac disorder, which meant he had been attracted to children for most of his life.

He said he was now taking medication to suppress his testosterone levels, which had made his "preoccupation with children" go away.

On September 9 last year, District Court judge Clive Jeffreys sentenced Van Ryn to a maximum sentence of 13 years' jail with a non-parole period of seven years, giving him a 25 per cent discount for his early guilty plea and taking into account his "contrition" and the fact that he had sought treatment.

The judge also referred to Van Ryn's previous good character, and his expressions of remorse to the children’s relatives and a psychiatrist.

The families of the victims expressed outrage at the sentence, which they said was "far too short for ... crimes committed against innocent children".

"References to Van Ryn's good character, community service and work as a senior executive for a major Australian food manufacturing company were used as reasons for reducing his sentence," a spokesman for the families said two days after the sentence was handed down

"We reject absolutely that the mask of 'good community citizen' should have any consequence in the reduction of time served by a paedophile. During the sentencing statement of Judge Jeffreys we at times wondered if we were listening to a criminal sentencing or an award-giving ceremony."

Under the Court of Criminal Appeal's unanimous decision, Van Ryn's maximum sentence has been increased from 13 years to 18 years.

The three-judge appeal panel of Justices Mark Leeming, Justice Peter Johnson and Justice Robert Allan Hulme describe the original sentence as "an affront to the administration of justice".

They found that Judge Jeffreys failed to explain how he had applied sentencing principles and past judgment when reaching his decision, and provided no indication as to how seriously he regarded Van Ryn's crimes.

They also ruled that rather than being "deeply remorseful", Van Ryn had been arrogant and belligerent about his offending and had sought to understate its seriousness.    

With the increased sentence, Van Ryn will not be eligible for parole until June 9, 2028.

Speaking outside court after the decision, a spokesman for Van Ryn's victims questioned whether the original sentencing judge, Clive Jeffreys, should be continue to preside over sex abuse matters in light of the appeal court's findings.

"The description of that sentence as an affront to the administration of justice needs to be put up in headlights," said the spokesman, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

 "Judge Jeffreys continuing to sit on sex abuse cases needs to be reviewed by the judiciary in NSW. He's an inappropriate judge to deal with these matters."


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