News

Stress led man to child porn

AN IPSWICH man who viewed more than 100 child porn images may have accessed the material because he was stressed at work.

Police raided the 38-year-old man’s Springfield Lakes home in 2008 and seized his computer after receiving information about the offences.

Ipswich District Court heard Brentford Paul Higgins had viewed 178 child porn images between October, 2006, and May, 2008, and while he did not save them to his computer, police were able to retrieve them from his temporary internet folders.

Commonwealth Prosecutor Kila Pedder said Higgins told police: “I didn’t need to save any because there was so much content on the internet.”

Mr Pedder said the children were aged between three and 18 and while most of the images involved only sexual “posing”, some were in the more serious categories.

He said Higgins had exposed himself to a jail sentence of between 12 and 15 months with some actual time spent in custody.

“The defendant has accessed child porn material over a significant period of time which shows his actions weren’t impulsive or opportunistic in nature,” Mr Pedder said.

The court heard a psychiatrist’s report which said Higgins was under significant work stress and that may be a possible explanation for his behaviour.

Higgins pleaded guilty to using a carriage service to access child exploitation material. He was given two years probation and 12 months jail but was released immediately on a $1000 good behaviour bond for three years.

Defence barrister Bradley Farr said 32 of the images were cartoon anime child porn in which actual children were not harmed.

Of the remaining images, Mr Farr said only 40 to 50 actual children were depicted.

Mr Farr said his client had no criminal history and first viewed the material by accident while looking at legitimate adult porn.

“It would seem that his curiosity was piqued that way in the beginning,” Mr Farr said.

Mr Farr said Higgins estimated the overall number of adult porn images he had viewed would be in the 10s of 1000s “if not more”.

“Child porn wasn’t the primary focus of what he was viewing,” he said.

Mr Farr said Higgins owned a business in Brisbane where he employed 13 people and it was unlikely he would re-offend.

Judge Sarah Bradley said while cartoon child porn was abhorrent and accessing it should remain illegal, it was less serious than material which involved actual children.

She said it was important for courts to recognise that child exploitation material involved actual victims.



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