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DPP v Winter [2022] VCC 227

The offender was sentenced following a plea of guilty to 1 count of accessing child abuse material using a carriage service contrary to s 474.22(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code.  

Nature and Circumstances: Offending had a degree of unsophistication. Material was accessed on a Facebook site and shared back to the same Facebook group who had originally sent it to the offender. Offending is a lower level example of an inherently serious charge. Volume of material and images are at the lower end of the scale for such offending. Offending fell within the lower category of seriousness.  

Contrition: Offender has shown a degree of contrition for offending and cooperated with the investigation. Offender provided a full interview and answered questions accurately and truthfully, without seeking to minimise the content of the material accessed. Offender was candid during their interview, which is relevant to remorse.  

Antecedents: Offender has several prior criminal matters, including child sexual offences, indecent assault, driving and dishonesty offences. Offending is relevant to specific deterrence and rehabilitation, though is dated with no further suggestion of any contact offences since the early 1990s. Offender has not reoffended since they were arrested and charged for the current matters.  

Physical Condition: Offender has a number of debilitating medical conditions, has reduced mobility, is on several medications and has poor sleep due to severe sleep apnoea. Offender’s health has deteriorated significantly over the last 5 years. Offender’s lung function is at 46% capacity and ability to breathe significantly is restricted. Offender’s ill-health and greater burden of imprisonment are important considerations to take into account, but cannot be used to justify an unacceptably inappropriate sentence or to displace considerations of just punishment, proportionality and general and specific deterrence.  

Mental Condition: Offender was diagnosed with alcohol abuse disorder (severe, in early remission), persistent depressive disorder (moderate) and Paedophilic Disorder. Offender’s alcohol abuse and depression are considered to contribute to their social isolation and undermine their ability to manage their sexual deviance. Offender’s older age depressive symptoms and significant health issues are likely to impact their ability to cope with prison and may worsen.  

Rehabilitation: Offender’s risk of reoffending is low, but prospects for rehabilitation will be further enhanced by appropriate psychological and/or psycho-educational interventions. Offender’s acceptance of responsibility, cooperation, dated history of prior criminal offending and recent compliance with bail are taken into account.  

Offender sentenced to 8 months imprisonment, to be released forthright on recognisance and upon entering a good behaviour bond for a period of 2 years 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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