Craig Liefting a primary school teacher jailed over sexual abuse

A County Court Judge in Victoria has sentenced a primary school teacher to five and a half years jail over his “relentless” sexual offences against two girls. Craig Liefting, 49, started teaching in the Gippsland area in 2002 and started sexually abusing the girls aged 8 and 6 in 2013.

The first girl was 8 years old when Liefting touched her under her clothes and the second victim was only 6 when he started abusing her over a two-year period. The second girl was abused most days and made to hide under his desk where he would wheel his chair and expose himself to her and encourage her to touch him.

In sentencing the primary school teacher, Judge Hassan rejected his apology which contradicted the psychologist’s report in which he said that the abuse was “sexually gratifying and emotionally fulfilling”. The psychologist also found that the teacher has a severe psycho-sexual deviance and a diagnosed pedophilic disorder.
The Judge also remarked that the “victims were completely defenceless at the hands of their teacher” and noted that this was a gross breach of trust. Craig Liefting will be eligible for parole after three and a half years but will remain a registered sex offender.


Sexual touching – child under 10 – NSW offence

The offence of sexual touching a child under the age of 10 is provided for in section 66DA Crimes Act 1900, which states:

Any person who intentionally–

(a) sexually touches a child who is under the age of 10 years, or

(b) incites a child who is under the age of 10 years to sexually touch the person, or

(c) incites a child who is under the age of 10 years to sexually touch another person,


(d) incites another person to sexually touch a child who is under the age of 10 years,

is guilty of an offence.


Maximum penalty–Imprisonment for 16 years with a standard non parole period of 8 years.

Sexual touching is defined in section 61HB Crimes Act 1900 as:

  • For the purposes of this Division,

“sexual touching” means a person touching another person


(a) with any part of the body or with anything else, or

(b) through anything, including anything worn by the person doing the touching or by the person being touched,

in circumstances where a reasonable person would consider the touching to be sexual.

  • The matters to be taken into account in deciding whether a reasonable person would consider touching to be sexual include—


(a) whether the area of the body touched or doing the touching is the person‘s genital area or anal area or (in the case of a female person, or transgender or intersex person identifying as female) the person‘s breasts, whether or not the breasts are sexually developed, or

(b) whether the person doing the touching does so for the purpose of obtaining sexual arousal or sexual gratification, or

(c) whether any other aspect of the touching (including the circumstances in which it is done) makes it sexual.

(3) Touching done for genuine medical or hygienic purposes is not sexual touching.

To prove the offence, the prosecution have the onus and must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that:

  1. A person intentionally,
  2. Sexually touches a child under 10, or
  3. Incites the child under 10 to sexually touch the person, or
  4. Incites the child under 10 to sexually touch another person, or
  5. Incites another person to sexually touch the child under 10.

In NSW, the recent case of R v Irwuin [2020] NSWDC 199 at [28] Colefax SC DCJ held the following to amount to the offence of sexual touching of child under 10:

“When you were inside the house with the victim, you took off her jacket, undid the button on her shorts, pulled them down and put them on the floor.  You then removed your own pants and held her.  These facts constitute the offence of intentionally sexually touching a child under 10 years of age.” 


Pannu Lawyers extensively practice in Criminal Law and regularly appear at Courts throughout New South Wales. If your matter is at Blacktown Local Court, we are conveniently located within a walking distance from the Blacktown Local Court. Call our office on 02 9920 1787 to discuss your matter in a confidential manner.

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