The lawyer for a cafe owner who sexually exploited a child waitress has urged an Adelaide court to hand down a lenient sentence, saying her client lacked the social skills to date adult women.
Key points:Logan Ernest Conway, 33, pleaded guilty to the persistent sexual exploitation of a childHis lawyer, Indiana Davis, told the court he had not been diagnosed with paedophilic disorderShe said he was too scared to end the unlawful relationship because he feared it would cause the matter to be reported to police
Logan Ernest Conway, 33, pleaded guilty to the persistent sexual exploitation of a child.
During sentencing submissions, the District Court heard maintaining that unlawful relationship was the worst decision Conway ever made and he regretted it "completely".
His lawyer, Indiana Davis, told the court Conway's life started to derail when he failed his music education degree.
"Music remained the real passion in his life," she said.
"He was looking forward to a career in that degree; he felt as though he nothing but an enormous HECS debt to show for it and felt as if he had no career prospects.
"He felt fairly hopeless about his future both in the career and romantic fronts."
The court heard Conway then opened a cafe in Adelaide's south with his mother, despite having no "aptitude for or enjoyment of hospitality".
Ms Davis said Conway ran the cafe working 12 hours a day, seven days a week for three years, but took no fewer than 10 days off from work in that time.
Yet after paying for several casual staff to help, Conway did not make minimum wage.
The court heard Conway lived with his mother and spent all of his time in the cafe.
"It was in this context that he met the complainant, who had been employed at the cafe as a waitress," Ms Davis told the court.
"And he then made the extremely ill-judged decision to become physically involved with her and then start a relationship with her.
"He was at that point probably at the lowest point in his life and the complainant was able to meet his need for positive attention.
"The relationship … was unquestionably wrong and he acknowledges that and takes full responsibility for the relationship."
She said he was too scared to end the relationship because he feared it would cause the matter to be reported to police.
Defendant 'deeply ashamed' of offending
The court heard Conway made "full and frank" admissions to police and was deeply ashamed and embarrassed by his offending.
Ms Davis told the court Conway had not been diagnosed with "paedophilic disorder" but "lacked the social skills to confidentially date adult women".
She said he was an adult who "behaved appallingly" and accepted all responsibility.
Ms Davis said her client was unlikely to reoffend and wanted to participate in rehabilitation, but that was only available to him in the community, not in prison.
She asked for her client — who had otherwise lived a "normal, hard-working and productive life" — to receive a merciful sentence that was lower than the minimum 10 years in jail, along with a lower-than-normal non-parole period.
Prosecutor Azaara Perakath told the court Conway was aware of the age of the victim at the time, as well as the impact and consequences of the relationship.
The court received no victim impact statement.
Judge Jane Schammer will sentence Conway later this month.