US sailor charged in Sydney
AN American sailor has been remanded in custody by a Sydney court charged with using the internet to groom an Australian child for sex.
The sailor was arrested by detectives from the NSW child exploitation unit when he arrived at Sydney airport yesterday, from Rockhampton, where he was part of the joint US-Australian exercise Talisman Sabre.
The sailor allegedly had an online conversation with a NSW police detective posing as a 14-year-old girl, Parramatta Bail Court was told yesterday.
Charged with using the internet to groom a person under 16 years of age for sex, he remained in a cell below the court after refusing to appear in the public dock.
A legal aid lawyer acting on his behalf made no application for bail which was refused by registrar David Piper, who remanded the sailor in custody to appear today.
US military lawyers will argue that they should take over the case in a submission that will be opposed by NSW police.
"The US military is asking for jurisdiction in this case," said US military spokesman Lieutenant Chris Maddison.
However, local sources say harsher US penalties and court martial proceedings overseas do not outweigh any potential deterrence value gained from the publicity of a successful Australian prosecution.