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CDPP v Cutajar [2022] VCC 1062

The offender was sentenced following a plea of guilty to 1 count of using a carriage service to transmit child abuse material contrary to s 474.22(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code.

Nature and Circumstances: Offending is an unusual example of transmission of child abuse material in that it does not involve images, and it does not involve explicit communications in writing. Non-image-based child abuse material is no less serious. It still has the capacity to affect others. Offending puts this case into a different category to many instances of this crime where depraved images or disgusting stories or fiction are transmitted. Offender was communicating with a person they believed to be an adult about a sexual act with a child. Offending strangely skated around the edges and was implying the existence of such conduct. It was devoid of any explicit or lurid statement but still meets the description of child abuse material.

Rehabilitation: Offender’s account of their motivation is bizarre and cannot be accepted. There is plainly some minimisation here. Offender has been going undergoing some counselling and treatment but not in the area of sexual counselling. Offender has also been prescribed some medication and has valuable family support. Offender has made some large gains in aspects of their life since their arrest. Offender has lived a decent and law-abiding life for very many years now and has held down a long-term job. Offender has sound prospects of rehabilitation.

COVID-19: The impacts of the virus upon prisoners has been lessening. However, it is clear that we are not beyond the reach of this virus and nor are prisoners. It seems clear there will be some lockdowns and quarantines from time and time and the virus will continue to bring about a level of uncertainty in the minds of prisoners. It will add to prisoners’ burden, and is to be regarded when considering the prospect of sending the offender to prison for the very first time.

Offender sentenced to a community corrections order for 2 years and 6 months with special conditions.
The CSD acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as First Australians and recognises their culture, history, diversity and their deep connection to the land. We acknowledge that we are on the land of the traditional owners and pay respects to Elders past and present.

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