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CDPP v French [2023] NSWDC 174

The offender was sentenced following pleas 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 and 1 count of possessing or controlling child abuse material obtained or accessed using a carriage service contrary to s 474.22A(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code. Offender also sentenced for a state sexual abuse material offence.

Nature and Circumstances: Offending occurred over an 11-day period and involved offender sending very explicit and sexualised messages. Offender engaged in these exchanges on 4 occasions. There was no attempt to make any arrangement to meet. Offender was expressing fantasies rather than any actual desire and did not at the time of offending know that engaging in those fantasies was illegal. The number of images possessed was limited to 22. There was no suggestion that offender was going to on-supply any of the material. Offender did not actively seek or solicit the material. Offending on both counts was below mid-range but not at the lower end of the scale.

Character: Offender is 65 years of age and until this offending led a blameless life and is not otherwise known to the authorities. Given the nature of the offending, offender’s good character carries limited weight. However, offender must receive some meaningful consideration for their lack of record in particular noting their age.

Rehabilitation: Offender is remorseful and contrite and is entitled to a finding on the balance of those issued in their favour. Offender has of their own volition engaged in counselling which is ongoing. Offender has no criminal history and the support of their wife. Offender has good prospects of rehabilitation.

Offender sentenced to 2 years imprisonment to be released immediately on recognizance of $1,000 to be of good behaviour for 4 years and to pay a fine in the amount of $2,500 for the Commonwealth offences.

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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