An Australian artist, who was jailed after repeatedly raping a 12-year-old girl, is now claiming that he shouldn’t have been sent to prison as his upbringing meant that he was unaware that sex with a minor was wrong.

Dennis Nona was raised in the indigenous community on his native Badu Island and it is because of this that he claims he never knew it was wrong to have sex with a child. The 42-year-old will use the defense as a way to try to appeal his nine-year sentence that was handed out by a judge last year.

Nona was one of the leading artists in Australia and has had his work displayed at the National Gallery of Australia, with some of his other paintings being sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars across the world. He was arrested after raping a 12-year-old girl and sexually assaulting her older sister when he was completing a course in Canberra.