Area of Law – Sexual Offences

An Article about Possessing child pornography Case

The Court of Appeal handed down a decision on child pornograpy in February 2010

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/vic/VSCA/2010/32.html

In it a mature person with no priors was given on the single count of knowingly possessing child pornography ten months’ imprisonment. Five months of that sentence was suspended for a period of 12 months.

The defendant was in possession of 165 images.

This is an important decision to give some guidance to the Courts on sentencing in child pornography cases.

It is like many cases though one that turns on its own facts to a large degree.

There are a number of factors that may well distinguish that child porn cases from other cases.

  1. Lies to police about the nature of the pornographic photos.
  2. No acknowledgement of the gravity of his offending. No psychological material was tendered to the Court on his behalf explaining the possession of child porn.
  3. The Court of Appeal noted “No explanation has been provided by you, either to the police or on the plea, as to the reason for your possession of this disgusting and disturbing material.” which is an unusual situation.
  4. The defendant did not indicate a plea of guilty to possessing child porn at an early stage. He pleaded not guilty at the committal hearing even though the case was overwhelming.
  5. Seemed to be one email where he was attempting to swap the images – which is an aggravating feature.
  6. The guideline judgment the Court refers to which advocates immediate prison sentences of 6 to 12 months for anyone caught with child pornography is an English case and that follows a plea of not guilty.
  7. No remorse shown in his plea to the possessing child porn charges was an important element.

“I also consider that there is a need for a sentence which will specifically deter you from offending in this way in the future. Such a need is clear from the fact that you possessed this material over a substantial period of time, a fact treated by the Court of Appeal in Curtain as a matter which could well be perceived as an aggravating circumstance and because, as I have said, there is no element of remorse in your plea.”

 

Date: 09/01/2009