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DPP (Cth) v Waller [2021] VCC 79

The offender pleaded guilty to 2 counts of publishing material using a carriage service, the material being child abuse material, offence contrary to s 474.22(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code, 5 counts of accessing material, using a carriage service, the material being child pornography material offence contrary to s 474.19(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code, 1 count of contravening the requirement of an order made under s3LA(2) Crimes Act 1914 (Cth). Additional state offences.  

Nature and Circumstances: The fact that real children were not involved does not mean that children generally and the community have not been harmed by offender’s conduct. Offender published images and stories on the internet. While this was not done for profit, they were disseminated by offender for others to read. No real children were involved in the material the offender accessed but the stories and images involved sexual, humiliating, violent and depraved abuse of vulnerable young boys.  

Contrition: Sentencing judge not persuaded that pleas of guilty reflect genuine remorse. Offender told psychologist that arrest was an attack upon them as they were not involving others. Offender did not believe they had committed a crime. Offender is lacking in insight as to wider ramifications of publishing child pornography and abuse material on the internet and of accessing and possessing such material. Such conduct tends to normalise exploitive sexual activity involving children and may fuel demand for such material whether or not it involves real children.  

Mental Condition, Hardship to the Offender: Sentencing judge drew inference that limbs five and six of Verdins apply. Asperger’s syndrome and depression will make gaol sentence weigh more heavily than it would on others not suffering such conditions. Asperger’s will make offender more vulnerable to bullying and harassment.  

Offender sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment, to be released on recognisance release order after 9 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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