Despite two Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) cadets being found guilty of streaming videos over Skype while one of them was having consensual sex with a female cadet, the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court on Wednesday decided not to send the two young men to jail for their offences.
ACT Supreme Court acting Justice John Nield instead took into account the ages of the cadets and their prospects of rehabilitation and issued the controversial decision granting 21-year-old Daniel McDonald two 12-month good behaviour bonds to be served concurrently and Dylan Deblaquiere, also, 21, a 12-month good behaviour bond.
Mr McDonald was the one who had sex with the female cadet, while Mr Deblaquiere watched the streamed video over Skype with other male cadets in another room.
Justifying his decision, Mr Nield said, quoted by ABC, "Is imprisonment the only appropriate sentence? I have given this question anxious thought. I have wavered between answering yes and no."
But he warned the two cadets that they could still be sent to jail if they breach the conditions of their bonds. The justice said because of the excessive media attention on the offences and the trial itself, general deterrence had already been achieved.
Despite the Skype transmission being non-violent and the contents were seen by a limited audience and was not even recorded, Mr Nield pointed out it is still a violation of the victim's right to privacy.
"To engage in sexual activity in a private setting, one expects that sexual activity to be private. No one expects it to be transmitted to the world at large or even close friends," the judge said.
He described the offence of the two cadets as vulgar and noted their lack of remorse for what they did.
The victim acknowledged Mr Nield's fairness throughout the trial and respected his decision.
Besides the Skype scandal, Mr McDonald's was also implicated as being part of a group called Love of My Life which is another sex scandal in the making since members require male members of a football team to perform sexual acts on each other as part of their initiation rites. However, Mr McDonald was cleared on involvement with the group.