A Canberra truck driver has been locked up for six months after being "ostracised and socially isolated" when his friends found out he was a child sex offender.
Chisholm man Brett Hartley-Kennett, 28, used Snapchat to prey on a user he thought was a 14-year-old girl called Amy, repeatedly pestering her for nude photographs last year.
He arranged to meet the teenager last July at netball courts Justice John Burns described on Friday as "a relatively secluded location".
The judge was left in "no doubt" that Hartley-Kennett did this hoping to engage in sexual activity with a minor.
But the married man's plans were shot when police officers showed up instead and informed him that "Amy" did not exist, and was in fact an AFP covert online operative.
Hartley-Kennett was charged with various offences, and eventually pleaded guilty to procuring a child for sexual activity and soliciting child abuse material.
At the 28-year-old's sentencing in the ACT Supreme Court on Friday afternoon, Justice Burns said Hartley-Kennett was fully aware of how old "Amy" apparently was and of the "significant" age gap between them.
"The tenor of your messages increased over time ... with a view to engaging in sexual activity with 'Amy'," the judge said.
"Clearly, this is a serious example of this type of offending."
Justice Burns said material before the court showed Hartley-Kennett had been "ostracised and socially isolated from [his] former friendship groups as a result of these offences", while the offender was also sacked from his job.
He said he did not believe Hartley-Kennett was likely to reoffend sexually, and that the man had "expressed feelings of remorse and sorrow" to a pre-sentence report author.
Despite this, Justice Burns said the community expected "significant punishment" to be dished out to people who committed child sex offences.
He stressed that it was important for courts to deter would-be criminals and play a role in keeping children safe from abuse.
In this case, the judge said, the fact "Amy" was fictitious did not make the offending any less serious.
Justice Burns therefore sentenced Hartley-Kennett to 13 months in jail, with the balance of the term to be suspended after six months.
The 28-year-old will be subject to a recognisance release order, requiring him to be of good behaviour for two years, when he is released from custody in October.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: