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CDPP v Hewitt [2023] VCC 843

The offender was sentenced following pleas of guilty for 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, and 1 count of using a carriage service to access child abuse material contrary to s 474.22(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code.

Nature and Circumstances: Of the 5,849 files possessed by offender, 95 were videos and the rest were images. Using the Interpol Baseline Scale, 2,329 images and 75 videos were Category 1, and 3,425 images and 20 videos were Category 2. The fact that offender stored the child abuse material on many devices, including some portable hard drives, some of which replaced older devices indicates that this was far from some spontaneous conduct. Offender did not interact or share material with other like offenders. There was no profiteering or commerciality on offender’s part. Offender was not part of some distinct network of other internet criminals. On any measure offender’s possession of this material is serious criminality.

Antecedents: Offender has a 5-year-old daughter whom they are no longer allowed contact with. Offender has found separation from their daughter especially difficult as they considered themselves a committed parent. Offender has been a user of methamphetamine since the age of 20. Offender’s use of methamphetamines increased during the offending period.

Rehabilitation: Offender does not believe they engaged in the offending for their own gratification, demonstrating their lack of insight. This lessens the prospect for complete reform. Offender is plainly ashamed at their offending, and realise it has brought an end to their relationship and previous family life. Offender is remorseful and was cooperative in providing passwords to the authorities. Offender has no entrenched mental health problems. It is said by the psychologist that their risk of re-offending is lowered if they remain free of drugs. Psychologist did not consider that there was much by way of deviance or paedophilia or paedophilic traits. The nature of the many images and videos, and the volume of material makes that conclusion less persuasive.

Offender sentenced to 22 months of imprisonment to be released after 14 months on recognizance of $1,000 to be of good behaviour for 2 years.
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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