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CDPP v Hutchinson [2021] VCC 1267

The offender was sentenced following pleas of guilty to 2 counts of using a carriage service to access child abuse material contrary to the Commonwealth Criminal Code and 1 count of possessing child abuse material obtained or accessed using a carriage service contrary to the Commonwealth Criminal Code.

Nature and Circumstances: The number of images, nature of the images and duration of the offending were relevant in finding the offending to be very serious. Offending took place over a period of more than seven and a half years. Offending involved a total of 317,0003 files across four devices, which included over 300,000 images, 2,000 videos and 28 documents. Most of the images and videos were classified as category 1 using the ANVIL classification scheme. The comparatively smaller number of category 2 and 3 images and videos did not obscure the fact that the material in the higher ANVIL categories were themselves disturbingly high.

COVID-19: Plea of guilty carried greater weight because of more onerous conditions of custody as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sentence further reduced because more onerous prison conditions were likely to exist because of COVID-19.

Mental Condition: Offender suffers from a major depressive disorder. Consideration was not detracted by the fact that the offender’s depression was partly attributable to distress caused by having their conduct exposed, their family impacted, having criminal charges brought against them and the likelihood of incarceration. Verdins limbs 5 and 6 applied in relation to offender’s depression. Involvement with deviant online material was sufficiently intense to meet DSM5 criteria for an unspecified paraphilic disorder.

Physical Condition: Offender also has a long-standing diagnosis of ulcerative colitis and related conditions of anterior iritis and uveitis. Offender’s condition will continue to impact on their quality of life and may be exacerbated by the stress of incarceration. Offender’s depressive order and ulcerative colitis would make imprisonment more onerous for them.

Rehabilitation: Offender made significant progress from engaging in initial treatment and posed a moderate-low risk of recidivism to sexual offending. Offender’s commitment to treatment, continued support of their wife and parents and good employment history improved prospects to reintegrate into the community upon release.

Family and Dependents: Offender’s family would suffer hardship, particularly as a result of the support the offender provided to their autistic daughter, but this is a consequence of the offender’s conduct. Offender’s concern for their daughter stood in stark contrast to their absence of concern for the victims, many of the same age as their daughters, who were exploited for the child abuse material.

Offender sentenced to 5 years imprisonment with a 3 year non-parole period.
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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