News National Maggie Kirkpatrick avoids jail time

Maggie Kirkpatrick avoids jail time

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Prisoner star Maggie Kirkpatrick will attempt to appeal after she was found guilty and sentenced for sexually assaulting a vulnerable teenage fan in the 1980s.

A pre-appeal mention on September 11 was listed in the County Court of Victoria, just over an hour after the 74-year-old was sentenced to an 18-month community corrections order for the assault on the girl, who was aged 14 at the time.

It is understood the mention next month will hear the grounds of the attempted appeal, as well as whether it applies to her conviction or sentence.

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Magistrate Peter Mealy said Kirkpatrick would have known the victim to be especially vulnerable, as the teenager was a patient at a psychiatric hospital.

“All along to this point, as has been observed, the defendant showed no remorse instead simply protesting at a distance, in her terms, the untrue and malicious allegations,” he said in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday.

“The vulnerable in our society need to be protected.”

Magistrate Mealy said he would have sentenced Kirkpatrick to jail if it wasn’t for fact there was nothing else alleged against her.

She must also undergo treatment and rehabilitation programs.

Kirkpatrick was found guilty of two counts of indecent assault and one charge of committing a gross act with a person under 16, over incidents that occurred at a rented Melbourne house.

The incidents occurred at a Prahran house the Sydney-based actress rented while in Melbourne filming the television show Prisoner.

Her portrayal of the character Joan “The Freak” Ferguson had made her a household name in Australia, winning her scores of fans, including the 14-year-old girl from Melbourne.

In 1984, the girl was a patient at a psychiatric hospital where she befriended a woman who also worked on the show.

The woman arranged a meeting with Kirkpatrick and the actress collected the fan from the hospital and took her to her house for dinner.

After she’d cooked for the girl and they’d watched some television, they went to Kirkpatrick’s bedroom where the actress sexually abused the girl.

When the allegations were aired last month, Kirkpatrick said she would fight them.

She told police in an interview they were malicious and untrue, and to hear what the girl was alleging made her ill.

But Mr Mealy ruled the victim’s testimony was truthful.

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