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Court can’t jail ex-MP Orkopoulos for call

Disgraced former politician Milton Orkopoulos has been convicted for breaking a law he helped pass after failing to comply with his reporting obligations as a sex offender.

The former NSW Labor minister was jailed in 2008 for 13 years and eight months for sexually abusing a boy and drug supply offences.

Soon after being released to parole in December 2019, he spoke to a child during a phone call with a relative.

Under the child protection law he helped pass, Orkopoulos was required to tell police within seven days the identity of any children with whom he communicated.

He also secretly created an Instagram page in his name that followed Cristiano Ronaldo.

In February, while on bail and with his old phone still in police custody, he made several calls to his sister and his lawyer on an unapproved phone and was arrested again.

The 63-year-old pleaded not guilty to all five offences before making a plea offer in early 2020.

Only accepted recently by prosecutors, the deal involved him pleading guilty to one count of unapproved phone use and making admissions about the other four offences.

Sydney magistrate Phillip Stewart said the offences weren’t trivial but were in the lower range of seriousness.

Mr Stewart said a jail term would “sheet home” to Orkopoulos the importance of complying with reporting obligations.

The magistrate was looking at a one-year sentence, taking into account Orkopoulos’ early plea and other admissions.

But he said the sentencing procedure act prevented magistrates from jailing people currently serving a sentence put in place more than five years ago.

“Despite the appropriate sentence being one of full-time imprisonment, it is not an available sentencing option,” he said.

“The unintended consequence of section 58 is that a person serving a lengthy sentence can avoid further custodial penalty when dealt with in the Local Court, whereas a person with a less significant record or no record at all could be imprisoned.

“This effectively provides impunity for some offenders on parole serving lengthy sentences, including Mr Orkopoulos.”

Instead, he placed Orkopoulos on a Community Corrections Order for two years, adding a condition that the former MP abstain from drug use.

Orkopoulos has been in custody since February 22 when arrested over the use of a non-approved phone.

The state parole authority revoked his parole a week later. It is due to hold a public hearing on the matter in January.

Orkopoulos has also had bail refused on other offences, related to historical matters.

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