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CDPP v Lucas Robbins (a pseudonym) [2021] VCC 2172

The offender was sentenced following pleas of guilty to 1 count of using a carriage service to access 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. Additional offence was taken into account pursuant to s 16BA.

Antecedents: Offender’s circumstances constitute an exceptional circumstance to warrant a recognisance release order. Offending took place in a situation where the offender was somewhat vulnerable. Offender was passive, isolated, their marriage dysfunctional, and under mounting significant pressure from their onerous work. Offending behaviour is to be contrasted with that of another not subject to significant personal stressors. Although less weight is normally given to good character for such offences, offender’s employment history as a paramedic is one of quite extraordinary service to the community. Offender has received medals for over 30 years of dedicated service and over 40 letters of repeated congratulations for attending emergency situations from 1990 to 2019. Offender’s contributions and demonstration of pro-social values are in stark contrast to their offending. Offender’s long term employment history performing a role where they demonstrated caring for others is an encouraging indicator of their prospects of rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation: Offender has demonstrated significant remorse. Offender made frank admissions and cooperated with authorities in explaining their conduct. Tendered on the offender’s plea was a letter to the court where the offender acknowledged that their conduct involved morally repugnant decisions and spoke of their desire to commit to being a productive and contributing member of the community. Offender’s deletion of the child abuse files is consistent with their statements of remorse and insight into the depravity of their own conduct. Offender has made efforts since being charged to obtain professional psychological supports intended to reduce the chance of re-offending. Offender has completed counselling sessions and enrolled in a sex offender treatment program. Psychologist’s view is that with appropriate support the offender’s risk of reoffending will diminish over time. Offender’s rehabilitation may be impeded if they are not able to continue taking advantage of these supports. Immediate imprisonment and the likelihood of being in the company of others who have offended in a similar way would be detrimental to the offender’s ongoing rehabilitation.

Offender sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, to be released immediately upon entering a recognisance release order for 3 years with conditions, and a community corrections order for 2 years with 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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