AN ARMIDALE real estate agent has had his conviction for sexual touching quashed on appeal.
Keith Thomas Ellis was jailed for 12 months in the local court earlier this year but lodged an appeal against the severity of his sentence.
Ellis, 32, doesn't deny the offence and admitted to the charge, but appealed the one-year jail sentence handed to him, that would have seen him serve at least six months behind bars before he was eligible for parole.
In a hearing in the district court in Armidale, Judge Warwick Hunt allowed the appeal and varied the sentence to quash the conviction.
He found Ellis was guilty, but without entering a conviction, re-sentenced him to a conditional release order (CRO), or good behaviour bond, for two years.
As part of the order, Ellis is prohibited from drinking alcohol for the duration of the two-year order, and must not commit any further offences. The order expires in March 2022.
Ellis pleaded guilty to one count of sexual touching without consent in the local court in November, last year.
In sentencing at the time, magistrate Michael Holmes found the only available penalty was a sentence of imprisonment and jailed Ellis for a maximum of 12 months, with a minimum of six months non-parole.
Ellis was taken into custody after the sentence was handed down but immediately lodged an appeal to the district court.
He was then granted conditional appeal's bail in Glen Innes Local Court on January 29, ahead of his appeal.
Ellis was originally charged with two offences, but one count was withdrawn in court prior to him entering a guilty plea to the charge.
Some of the details surrounding the case cannot be reported for legal reasons.
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