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Deputy principal on grooming charge bailed

The former deputy principal of a Sydney high school who sought a teenager online for “sexy play” will spend Christmas with his family after he was sprung by undercover detectives.

Damian Scott Wanstall walked free of Silverwater jail following eight days in custody after he was accused of online grooming and trying to pay a 14-year-old girl for sex.

Undercover officers engaged with the 47-year-old Kellyville High School deputy principal after he allegedly posted an online classified advertisement under the heading: “Any legal Indian or Filo teens want fun”.

“Aussie daddy seeking sexy play this weekend. Will reward. Can host discreetly Rouse Hill,” it read.

The word “legal” is in dispute.

Wanstall initially responded ” maybe a bit too young,” when the officer purported to be a 14-year-old but continued to engage with the unknown identity asking for pictures, and offering to pay $300 “for a few hours of fun”, the court heard.

Several times he was told the age was 14 including on the day before the arranged meet-up to take place in Westmead on a Monday afternoon.

He was arrested at the designated location with $200 he allegedly brought to pay for the sexual favours, and has since been charged with using a carriage service to procure a child under 16 years for sexual activity and using a carriage service to transmit child abuse material.

Parents had earlier made “a number of complaints” regarding Wanstall to their local MP and Police Minister David Elliot but nothing had eventuated from this, defence lawyer Darren Emery said.

He questioned whether police were targeting his client who enjoyed an “illustrious” career as a teacher for more than two decades.

Prosecutor Emily Burr submitted Wanstall posed a risk to the community, saying his behaviour was “brazen” given his senior position and regular contact with children.

“This is not a person who is likely to be deterred by his responsibilities,” Ms Burr said.

But Mr Emery argued if granted bail he would be watched “like a hawk” by his mother who appeared in Parramatta Local Court on Tuesday along with his brother and sister-in-law.

His online advertisement which appeared on Locanto was placed among content highly explicit and adult in nature and was clearly intended for a “legal teenager,” Mr Emery said.

The reason for Wanstall to attend the location was to check the validity of the age, he said.

“What’s to say he wouldn’t do exactly what any reasonable adult would do and drive off?”

While it may be “immoral and stupid”, he argued Wanstall never knew who he was going to meet and got “lucky” it was a detective and not a female with a number of males ready to assault him.

Wanstall, who appeared from custody via AVL link, has been formally suspended and is not allowed to attend school premises.

Among several of his bail conditions, Wanstall is not to leave his mother’s home without her during daylight hours only and is forbidden from accessing any device with internet capabilities.

He is next due in court in February.

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