‘Sexual predator’ dwarf avoids jail
An MP's child sex offender son has dodged jail time due to his dwarfism - and because prison can't accommodate his toiletry needs.
Daniel Knuth, son of Queensland MP Shane Knuth, pleaded guilty to 35 child sex offence charges in Townsville District Court last year, including possession of child exploitation material.
A report from the management of the Townsville Correctional Centre expressed concerns around Knuth's toiletry requirements should he be incarcerated.
The 22-year-old was born with dwarfism, and has undergone 17 surgeries for his condition.
His severe back curvature limits his flexibility and, in conjunction with his shorter limbs and longer torso, his mobility is compromised so much he is unable to wipe his own backside.
"If he was an able bodied offender there is simply no question at all that he'd be going to jail and going to jail for quite some time," Judge Greg Lynham said, according to the Townsville Bulletin.
"I think the biggest issue and it's made clear - simply put, there is no one to attend to Mr Knuth's toileting needs."
In addition to hygiene assistance, prison management was concerned about bullying from other inmates and the absence of Knuth's special bedding for pain relief while behind bars.
Judge Lynham described the case as "sad" and "pathetic" when sentencing Knuth to four years jail, immediately wholly suspended for a period of five years.
The judge also handed down a three-year probation order, demanding Knuth undergo counselling and have regular contact with probation officers.
Knuth pleaded guilty to 35 child sex offences in December. These included using internet to procure a child, involving children in making child exploitation material and possessing child exploitation material.
He also admitted to using a fake Facebook account to trick young girls into sending him nude photographs. The court heard Knuth made a Facebook account in 2016 and posed as a personal trainer named Jack Thomason.
Crown prosecutor Dominique Orr saidKnuth was a "sexual predator" who preyed on vulnerable children as young as 12 years old.
Knuth's sentence had been previously adjourned, awaiting a report from Corrective Services detailing the vulnerabilities of people with dwarfism if incarcerated.
Knuth's father is Shane Knuth, the Katter's Australian Party Member for Hill.
Outside court, Mr Knuth told the Townsville Bulletinhis son had done "the wrong thing" but he would always love him.
"Daniel has acknowledged that he has used the internet inappropriately, he is very remorseful," he said.