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R v Dean [2023] ACTSC 98

The offender was sentenced following pleas of guilty to 1 count of transmitting child pornography material to themselves contrary to s 474.19(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code, 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, and 1 count of using a carriage service to access child abuse material contrary to s 474.22(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code. Offender was also sentenced for territory child exploitation offences.

Nature and Circumstances: There was a total of 660 separate pieces of child abuse material, although at least some of those are duplicates. The material was for offender’s own use. It is important to note that the transmission offence did not involve offender sending the material to others, merely to the offender transferring it between separate devices of their own. There is no suggestion that offender was deriving a profit from what they were doing. A significant number of children were harmed in the production of the material. The offences span a year and a half. While offender’s submission that the matter is an unremarkable example of such offending is accepted, that should not be taken as suggesting that the offences were other than serious. The possession offence is the most objectively serious.

Family and Dependants: Offender earns the greater part of family’s combined income. Their financial position is worse than others because offender’s wife requires a lot of medication. Offender’s wife gave evidence that she could not afford that medication or her health insurance on her income alone. Offender’s wife suffers from two conditions about which she gave evidence: endometriosis and diabetes. Offender’s wife relies on offender to monitor her diabetes. Many, if not most, offenders relying on what would happen to their loved ones if they were sent to gaol, well know of such consequences at the time they are committing their offences. But that is not the case here. At the time of the offending, offender was not in a relationship at all. This then is not one of those cases where an offender commits an offence knowing that someone they care for will be harmed if they get caught.

Rehabilitation: Offender has achieved a large measure of rehabilitation already. They were contemplating seeking counselling for viewing of child pornography, which they knew was wrong even before the police knocked on their door, and they contacted a counsellor that very evening. Since then, a period of over 2 years, offender has not viewed any child pornography, and their viewing of adult pornography has reduced considerably. Offender is remorseful for what they have done and accepted responsibility for their offending. Offender is unlikely to reoffend. The delay between arrest and sentence has allowed offender to demonstrate rehabilitation. Offender’s life is a very different one to the life they had when they were accessing and viewing child pornography. Offender is remorseful for what they have done and accepts responsibility for their offending, acknowledging their role in the harming of children.

For Commonwealth offences, offender sentenced to 22 months imprisonment to be served by way of Intensive Corrections Order on condition of completing 300 hours of community service within 24 months, and 6 months of imprisonment to be released immediately on recognizance of $200 to be of good behaviour for 2 years.
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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