Depraved and disturbing: Image collection of ‘isolated’ man

“DEPRAVED, despicable and disgusting.”

That was the finding of a judge who had to sentence a man over child sexual exploitation images he downloaded.

Judge Ian Dearden said in Ipswich District Court that many of the images, as well as some videos, fell in the most serious categories 4 and 5.

He pointed out to the accused 38-year-old man that the children used to make such awful images were victims of the most vile abuse.

Michael Fitzpatrick on Wednesday pleaded guilty to charges that he used the internet to access child pornography material at Brassall or elsewhere on December 9, 2017; and that he knowingly possessed child exploitation material between February 12, 2012 and June 13, 2018.

Crown prosecutor Amanda Robinson sought for Fitzpatrick to serve jail time, saying there were 71 photos and 15 videos, with the majority in category 4.

She said the most depraved of the content involved the rape of a newborn baby.

Ms Robinson said Fitzpatrick was a first-time offender and the offences carried a maximum jail term of 15 years.

She noted the length of time Fitzpatrick had possessed the material and that he had been viewing such material for about 18 years before his arrest.

“The videos and images are most depraved and it takes his criminality much higher,” she said.

Judge Dearden said the images were despicable and disgusting but the sentence must be balanced against the particular rehabilitation needs of this defendant.

Defence lawyer Ali Rama said medical material included a diagnosis of “an adjustment disorder” and the offender was of below average intelligence.

He said there had been a lack of intimacy in Fitzpatrick’s life, that was coupled with social isolation.

Mr Rama said Fitzpatrick’s parents were supportive and he was living back in the family home.

He said Fitzpatrick had made considerable efforts to get professional assistance since being charged.

A New Zealand citizen, Fitzpatrick was yet to hear from authorities regarding his status under the Australian Migration Act.

“I’m very sorry for the actions I’ve done. I’ve disgraced my family,” Fitzpatrick told Judge Dearden.

“And sorry for the children who made these videos. It was disgraceful.

“I’m very, very sorry and swear I will never do it again.”

Judge Dearden said that when police went to his home in June 2018 a hard drive and a laptop held the images.

He noted that 35 of the 71 photos fell in the (lower) categories one and two.

Seven videos were in category 4, five in category 3 and two in the category 5 which involved sadism and bestiality.

“They are appalling, disgusting. Despicable examples of some of the worst possible adult child exploitation material,” he said.

“Deeply, deeply disturbing. Indicating children somewhere were treated appallingly to create this material.”

Judge Dearden said he had read the medical reports and the diagnosis and that the offender was of below average intelligence.

He was sentenced to a 15-month jail term, immediately suspended for two years, and released on a $2000 bond and two-year supervised probation order to continue ongoing programs.

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