A former Catholic priest on the sex offenders registry has avoided a jail term despite admitting he breached a court order by umpiring junior cricket matches.
Nanjing Night Net

Paul Chris Pavlou, 54, stood in 11 under-15 matches between 2010 and 2012 for the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association in what was a breach of his obligations as a convicted sex offender, in that he was paid to work with children.

Pavlou also had a previous conviction for failing to comply with conditions of the registry, to which he was added for his 2009 conviction for performing an indecent act with a child under 15 and knowingly possessing child pornography.

At one point in Pavlou’s plea hearing on Friday, County Court judge Paul Lacava asked of defence counsel Sam Stafford: “How many chances does a sex offender have to get before he receives a term of imprisonment?”

But Judge Lacava later spared Pavlou a stint in prison, by wholly suspending a three-month jail term for two years and warning him not to get into trouble again.

Pavlou was last year sentenced by a magistrate to spend three months in jail for umpiring the junior games and providing false information to authorities when questioned.

He appealed against the magistrate’s decision in the County Court on Thursday, but changed the appeal to a plea of guilty to four charges on Friday after 12 charges were withdrawn.

The court heard Pavlou, a cricket lover, did not regard umpiring as employment, even though he was paid between $80 and $110 for each game.

“It wasn’t in the context of a normal nine-to-five job, it was not in the context of a casual job, it was something else to him,” Mr Stafford said.

“He perceived it as a hobby and not a job.”

Judge Lacava said the umpiring “clearly was” a job.

Mr Stafford said Pavlou had never fraternised or physically interacted with players in or after games, and that he and his umpiring colleague would have their own rooms at grounds.

Working-with-children checks were not required from players at the time, the court heard.

Mr Stafford said no harm had ever arisen from the breaches, to which Judge Lacava replied: “Thank God.”

The court heard Pavlou later told police he was “not involved in any clubs” when quizzed about his umpiring role.

Pavlou was originally sentenced to 18 months in jail on the indecent act offence, but the prison term was wholly suspended. He was sentenced to a community based order on the child pornography charge.

It was also ordered that his name be on the sex offenders registry for 15 years.

In 2010 he was convicted and fined $400 for failing to alert police when he changed address.

The court heard on Friday he also failed to notify police when he left his accounting job with Basilica Funerals in 2011.

Judge Lacava said the registry’s reporting obligations were designed to protect the community, to reduce the likelihood of reoffending and to help police keep track of known sex offenders.

The reporting obligations, the judge said, required offenders to inform police whenever they changed jobs and addresses, and that they not work with children.

Judge Lacava said Pavlou’s breaches were serious, but told him his decision to suspend the sentence was “designed to give you one more opportunity to get your life in order and not reoffend”.

He warned that Pavlou would need “truly exceptional circumstances” to avoid being jailed if he was ever brought before court again.

Pavlou was supported in court by his sister. The court was told he was engaged to be married in October.

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