Man Jailed for Child Abuse Material Charges


grayscale photo of girl holding her chin

A 30-year-old man found to possess child abuse material has been sentenced to two years in prison with an 18-month non-parole period.

Ryan Thompson appeared at Port Macquarie Local Court and pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child abuse material in December 2023.

The two-year sentence is the maximum that could be imposed. This was despite Mr Thompson pleading guilty. Generally, a plea of guilty at the earliest opportunity attracts a sentencing discount of 25%.

There was also no reduction in the ratio between the head sentence and non-parole period. 

The court heard that in July 2023 police executed a search warrant at the defendant’s home. A mobile phone, laptop, and computer hard drive were seized.

The laptop contained 18,830 pictures and video files which included adult pornography, 838 videos of child abuse material, and 88 video clips of children aged between 12 and 15 years old engaging in sexual activity.

The Magistrate said, “There is a very substantial number of children who have been abused for the purpose of producing this material…The gravity of that sexual activity is high, given the age disparity of the participants and the activity captured on videos.”

The offending was put down to alcohol and substance abuse by the offender’s lawyers. It was suggested he had taken steps to engage with professionals to address the factors that had impacted his conduct. 

During sentencing, the Magistrate said the reason and length of a custodial sentence was based on the amount of material, the public interest in the case, and the 109 days Thompson had already served.

Thompson will be eligible for release on June 30, 2025. His criminal defense lawyers have filed an appeal regarding the sentence.

Section 91H of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) sets out that if you have custody and control of child abuse material, you can be guilty of an offence. 

Child abuse material is defined as material that depicts or describes in a way reasonable people would consider offensive:

A person who appears to be a child as a victim of torture, cruelty or physical abuse, or
A person who appears to be a child involved in a sexual pose or sexual activity, or
A person who appears to be a child in the presence of another person who is engaged in a sexual pose or sexual activity, or
The private parts of a person who appears to be a child which include the genital or anal area, or breasts of a female.

To determine if a reasonable person would consider something offensive, the court will assess:

The standards of morality and decency generally accepted by reasonable adults,
The artistic or education relevance of the material,
The journalistic relevance of the material for a record or report of public interest, and
The general character of the material

Possess child abuse material charges are extremely serious. The stigma that comes with them is likely to follow a person for the rest of their life. 

Looking at statistics for child abuse material sentencing over the last 5 years, no person has avoided a criminal conviction for this offence. In relation to the NSW offence, 80% of offenders were sentenced to some form of imprisonment. 64% of offenders received a sentence of full-time imprisonment. 

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Date : 2024-04-19 22:22:28

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