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DPP v Sloan (a pseudonym) [2021] VCC 209

The offender was sentencing after pleading guilty to 2 counts of using a carriage service to solicit child abuse material contrary to s 474.22(1)(a)(iv), 1 count of using a carriage service to access child abuse material contrary to s 474.22(1)(a)(i), 3 counts of using a carriage service to transmit child abuse material contrary to s 474.22(1)(a)(iii) and 1 count of possessing child abuse material obtained or accessed using a carriage service contrary to s 474.22A(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code.  

Nature and Circumstances: Accessing, transmission and storage of child abuse material involving children unknown to offender was serious enough, but offenders willingness to exploit and potentially corrupt co-offender’s children, and even offender’s own child raises offending to whole new level. Offender did not care that the children knew them as their mother’s partner and trusted them in that capacity. Offender was prepared to subjugate their welfare, as well as the welfare of the children they did not know, to their own sexual desires. Sustained nature of offending only came to an end upon detection. Large proportion of material was videos as opposed to images, and a large number fell into the more serious categories. Offending occurred while on probation and a recognisance release order to be of good behaviour.  

Mental Condition: It is difficult to see how offending can be considered impulsive given repetitive and sustained nature. Pure volume of child abuse material and various ways it was accessed and stored belies explanation that interest only arose in context of drug use and that otherwise offender was horrified by such activity. Impaired mental functioning, particularly intellectual disability, does reduce moral culpability for offending. Disability reduces significance of denunciation to the sentencing process and requires some moderation of deterrence.  

Victims of Offence: Grandmother of victim described how offender destroyed victim’s trust in people, even own family. Grandmother is concerned victim will be more affected as she matures and realises the full extent of the depravity she was exposed to. Father of Henry and Kelly Pana says children have been objectified and their childhood has been taken away. Children have to live with the knowledge that their images will remain on the internet forever.  

Remorse: Offender minimised conduct in accounts to police and psychologist, which tends to undermine any claim to genuine remorse. The sheer volume of material, the sustained and repeated nature of offending and prior convictions all tend to militate against a finding of remorse. Sentencing judge not persuaded that offender understood the damage cause to the children.  

Rehabilitation: Offender was previously sentenced for Commonwealth offence relating to using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence. Offenderw as prepared to distribute mage of Aubrey after having done something similar before, which reflects very badly. Offender was not deterred by sentence imposed in 2018 from offending again. Prospects of rehabilitation are guarded at best.  

Offender sentenced to 4 years and 1 month imprisonment with a 2 year and 6 month non-parole period.
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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