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DPP (Cth) v Amarasinghe [2022] VCC 200

The offender was sentenced following pleas of guilty to 3 counts of using a carriage service to cause child pornography material to be transmitted to self, 8 counts of using a carriage service to transmit child pornography material and 1 count of using a carriage service to publish child pornography material contrary to s 474.19(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code, 2 counts of using a carriage service to cause child abuse material to be transmitted to self and 8 counts of using a carriage service to transmit child abuse material contrary to s 474.22(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code, 2 counts of using a carriage service to menace and cause offence by transmitting private sexual material contrary to s 474.17A(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.  

Nature and Circumstances: Offending is objectively very serious and was protracted, planned, organised, prolific and involved threats. Sentencing concerns 25 discrete offences, the overall offending involved 5 distinct and separate offence types, there are 6 female victims of the overall offending (5 of whom are children) and offending occurred over a 19-month period. Offender used 4 false identities to conceal their identity when communicating with victims, including using two female usernames. Offender lowered their age, used fake profile photographs and altered their geographical location on occasion to facilitate communication with victims. 8 of the offences are ‘rolled-up’ charges reflecting many instances of offending each capable of constituting separate offences. Offender’s possession of 51 child abuse images and 3 videos were mostly classified as category 2 child abuse material according to the Interpol classification scale. The lower classification level should not minimise the offending as the ‘moral depravity and wickedness of images’ classified in the lower level of objective depravity seriously detracts from any submission that the gravity of offending is les serious because most are in lower levels. The offender’s depravity knew no bounds, and their conduct must be denounced in the most unequivocal manner.  

Mental Condition: Psychologist was of the opinion that while the offender’s views on ethical matters remain immature and egocentric, their ability to understand the wrongfulness of their actions has never been impaired. Psychologist’s opinion regarding the likelihood of the offender being an ‘especially vulnerable prisoner’ because of their ‘significant immaturity’, ‘limited coping skills’ and/or ‘naivety and poor social skills’ is referrable to the offender’s character traits rather than any underlying mental illness or personality disorder from which they suffer. Verdins principle 5 is insufficiently engaged. The fact that the offender may experience ‘ongoing problems adjusting to the custodial setting’ does not mean the existence of any condition they have ‘could mean that a given sentence would weigh more heavily on [the offender] than a person of normal health’. These characteristics are relevant to the offender’s personal circumstances but does not satisfy a serious risk of imprisonment having a significant adverse effect on the offender’s mental health to engage Verdins principle 6.  

Rehabilitation: Offender is slowly gaining insight into the seriousness of their criminal actions and has demonstrated contrition and remorse for their offending and the serious impacts this has had on their young and vulnerable victims. Offender has no prior criminal history, subsequent offences and matters outstanding. 13 written character references were tendered on the offender’s behalf. Offending conduct is an aberration of otherwise good character to be taken into account. The high seriousness of offending and upholding of fundamental values requires that the weight given to the offender’s youthfulness be somewhat diminished and significant weight be given to general deterrence, denunciation and just punishment. Offender has made some efforts towards their rehabilitation during a period of delay by seeking treatment for the underlying causes of their offending conduct and not reoffending.  

Offender sentenced to 13 years and 6 months imprisonment with a non-parole period of 8 years and 6 months.
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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