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DPP (Cth) v Blight [2023] VCC 951

The offender was sentenced following pleas of guilty to 1 count of using a carriage service to make available 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.

Nature and Circumstances: Offender possessed a total of 496 child abuse files stored across 4 devices. A total of 354 of those were in Interpol Category 1 and a total of 142 files were in Category 2. Make available offence related to calls on a telephone chatline concerning provision of encouragement by offender to another user to sexually abuse the 6-year-old son of that user. The offending the subject of the possession count is serious. The offending the subject of the make available count is less so, but serious enough to warrant a term of imprisonment.

Antecedents: Psychologist report identified features of offender’s upbringing which may well have had a significant influence on them. Offender’s father was an alcoholic and a stern disciplinarian who singled offender out for physical abuse and bullying to a point where offender’s mother had to intervene and seek to protect offender on occasions.

Rehabilitation: Psychologist report indicates that offender has used child pornography over a significant number of years and they have had to wrestle with their own conscience in continuing that activity. In more recent years offender has sought to obtain counselling treatment. In still more recent times offender has begun to have a clearer understanding of the harm which is caused by child sexual abuse. There seems to be no reason why offender should not continue to make further progress. Offender’s conduct and discovery has brought considerable shame on them. There is no doubt that offender is remorseful. Psychologist report assesses risk of re-offending as moderate. Nevertheless, offender has good prospects of rehabilitation.

Hardship: Offender suffers from a reactive depression of a severity that it is almost certain to impact severely on their ability to cope with a term of immediate imprisonment. Verdins principle 5 applies. Offender has been assessed as a potentially vulnerable prisoner, not just because of their psychological profile, but also as a result of the nature of the offending conduct. Offender has indicated a suicidal tendency. Restrictions on prisoners are probably less severe than has been so in the last two or three years, but there is still a pandemic.

Offender sentenced to 20 months imprisonment to be released after 10 months on recognizance of $2,000 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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