Despite pleading guilty in a bestiality case against him, a Canberra man will still avoid jail time. The ACT Supreme court issued the sentence.
Mark Zonneveld, a 48-year-old man from Canberra, met Jeffrey David Lee, a convicted murderer, through an online dating site. While using the dating service, the two talked about bestiality and exchanged pornographic images and messages.
Mr. Lee was found guilty and sentenced for killing his stepfather in 2015. He was also convicted for several other offenses he committed back in 2012. They included the rape of a girl under 16 years. He also speared the girl's arm and refused to get her to the hospital. In the same year, he also committed bestiality.
But even though Zonneveld will not see the inside of a prison for his crimes, he will not walk away from the whole incident without suffering any consequences.
Zonneveld was sentenced to two years in jail by Justice Michael Elkaim, who said that the two men conspired to commit sexual acts with a dog. According to the court, this goes to show the "depths of depravity" the pair had gone to.
However, during his court appearance, Zonneveld said he never intended to carry out any form of bestiality but was rather having a "fantasy talk" on the subject because he had an interest in Mr. Lee. According to Zonneveld, it was Lee who broached the subject.
Still, there was more incriminating evidence that he had other exchanges with other people that indicated that he was interested in animals. This evidence was produced by the prosecution.
However, the judge took into consideration the weight of each man's crimes. Mr. Lee was different in that his offenses "included a number of acts of actual bestiality."
Nevertheless, according to the judge, the "horror and detail of the actions" the two considered in their exchange made the sentence to have at least a "medium objective seriousness."
That is why Mr. Lee got two years, even in the absence of actual proof of his involvement in acts of bestiality.
The judge also took note that the acts that involved dogs, as the conspiracy between the two proved, were more likely to have been done by Mr. Lee.
Although Zonneveld got two years in jail for his role in the matter, he will still serve a suspended sentence in addition to serving two years of good behavior.
He will not be eligible for parole until 2026. Additionally, his current sentence will expire in 2032.