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R v Rasih [2022] VCC 228

The offender was sentenced following pleas of guilty to 1 count of accessing child pornography using a carriage service contrary to s 474.19(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code, 1 count of accessing child abuse material using a carriage service contrary to s 474.22(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code and 1 count of possessing material, being child abuse material, contrary to s 474.22A(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code.

Nature and Circumstances: Offending was a very serious example of offences of accessing and possessing child abuse material. Offending involved a very substantial number of files, exceeding 263,000. While the sheer volume of material is one indicator of seriousness, the nature of the material is the primary indicator of objective gravity. An overwhelming majority of video and image files, totalling 259,253 items, were categorised at level 1 of the CETS scale. Although the CETS 1 material is not as abusive as images categorised as a higher level, they still contain images involving the abuse of partially or fully naked girls, aged between 3 and 15, arranged in sexually explicit poses with their genitalia exposed. Images at higher levels include shocking images and videos involving the exploitation and degradation of children. Offending was sustained and protracted over 2 and a half years. Psychologist report provides some context to offending, particularly the offender’s increasing social isolation and feelings of inadequacy leading to ‘maladaptive coping mechanisms’. Whilst important context, offender’s moral culpability remains high.

Rehabilitation: Prospects of rehabilitation are difficult to assess and remain cautious. On the one hand, offender cooperated with police and made substantial admissions when interviewed. Offender has demonstrated willingness to engage voluntarily in long-term psychological counselling. On the other hand, offender was aware their conduct was wrong yet their offending continued over a lengthy period. Offender’s justification was objectively fanciful. Offender has limited insight into their behaviour and continue to minimise their offending.

Offender sentenced to 3 years and 1 day imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 16 months.
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