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DPP (Cth) v James [2022] VCC 327

The offender was sentenced following a plea of guilty to 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 relates to the possession or control of 52 video files and 10 image files of child abuse material spread across three devices. Offending is limited to a single date. Offending is undoubtedly serious. Offending was motivated by offender’s own sexual gratification. The amount of images and videos possessed, while not in the higher amounts that are commonly found, still represents a relatively serious example of possession of child abuse material.

Rehabilitation: Offender has no prior convictions and has demonstrated commitment to their rehabilitation by seeking out targeted counselling to deal with the core issues that underpinned the offending. If the offender accepts and engages in such treatment, their prospects can be assessed positively. While offender has no prior criminal history, specific deterrence remains relevant. Access to child abuse material can be achieved privately and often anonymous. The temptation of reoffending is every present during the process of rehabilitation and the offender must be deterred from that temptation. Psychologist report confirms offender has limited insight into the nature of their offending which necessarily impacts the assessment of risk.

Hardship: Exceptional circumstances are established from the offender’s personal circumstances of being a slight, introverted person with vulnerabilities and the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the prison system. COVID-19 restrictions have impacted opportunities for education and treatment in custody.

Offender sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, to be released immediately upon a recognisance release order of $3000 to be of good behaviour for 3 years and 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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