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DPP v Membrey [2023] VCC 802

The offender was sentenced following pleas of guilty to 2 counts of using a carriage service to transmit child abuse material s 474.22(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code, 2 counts of using a carriage service to access child abuse material s 474.22(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code, 1 count of causing child abuse material to be transmitted to themselves using a carriage service contrary to s 474.22(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code, and 1 count of possessing child abuse material which was obtained by using a carriage service s 474.22A(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code. Additional child abuse material offences were taken into account under s 16BA.

Nature and Circumstances: In total there were 128 images and 84 videos that offender had sent and 47 images and 17 videos they had received. The offending did not involve the volume of images and videos which are frequently seen in cases such as this. Nevertheless, offending involved sending and receiving images of children and videos of children being sexually abused whilst communicating on telegram chat about offender’s perverted and repugnant plans with the recipients or senders of the child abuse material. This offending normalises and promotes the concept of sexual abuse of children. Offending is serious in respect of each of the six counts.

Mental Condition: Offender’s mental state was assessed to be normal. They do meet the criteria for other specified paraphilia with paedophilic features. Offender participated in ongoing sessions in the Coping with Child Exploitation Material Use Program. In those sessions, issues of illicit substance abuse which was methamphetamine, relationship stress, social isolation and loneliness were identified. Offender has been absent from drug abuse since their arrest.

Rehabilitation: Offender’s plea of guilty and cooperation with the police indicate and demonstrate some remorse and it was accepted that offender is remorseful for their offending. Offender has engaged in rehabilitation by undertaking sex offender programs, they have the support from their family, their diagnosis of a specified paraphilia with paedophilic features represents a moderate risk of recidivism. Offender’s prospects of rehabilitation are fair.

Offender sentenced to 4 years and 3 months imprisonment with a non-parole period of 2 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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