Former navy chef caught with 11,000 child abuse images
A FORMER navy chef caught with 11,000 child abuse images has avoided going to jail after a judge found there were "exceptional circumstances" including his own sexual abuse as a boy.
A lawyer for the Mackay father of two said his client first came across child abuse material in an "accidental way" while repairing an old computer he had picked up at the dump to on-sell.
Mackay District Court heard on April 4 last year police detected an IP address Dean James Hansen was using to download files including one titled "Ukrainian Gentle Angel Sex".
Two months later officers raided his home and discovered child abuse material was being downloaded into a folder containing similar images and videos.
The court heard of the 11,000 images, 98 per cent were considered low level child abuse material while 190 were tagged "INTERPOL Baseline" meaning they showed children under the age of 13 naked or involved in, or witnessing, a sex act.
There were also 86 videos, 24 of which were in that more serious category and another 62 were considered child exploitation material but not "INTERPOL Baseline".
"The majority of the images and videos were of girls aged eight to 12," Judge Suzanne Sheridan said.
"Conduct by people like you fuels demand for this vile material.
"The offences sadly are not victimless crimes. The children depicted in the videos and images are actually being subjected to sexual abuse."
The 53 year old pleaded guilty to using a carriage service to access child abuse material and possessing child abuse material.
The court heard under harsher legislation brought in this year anyone convicted of possessing child abuse material must serve actual time in jail unless a judge found there were exceptional circumstances.
Defence barrister Scott McLennan said until Hansen was charged with these offences his client had no criminal history and had a solid work history including as a chef with the Royal Australian Navy.
Hansen's mental health deteriorated in 2008. He was diagnosed with PTSD and depression and placed on medication.
The court heard a "chance" discovery of child exploitation material on an old computer he had been repairing brought back memories of childhood abuse he's suffered from ages eight to 12.
"When he first saw it he instructs that he was disgusted and distressed," Mr McLennan said, adding his client had flashbacks and nightmares about his own abuse.
Ultimately Mr McLennan said it was accepted his client did download and possess the child abuse material.
The court heard Hansen's mental health deteriorated further after he was charged and he attempted suicide late last year.
Mr McLennan said he went to his GP and his meds were changed but it was only this year he was informed he could access a mental health plan for counselling, a point Judge Sheridan labelled "disturbing".
Judge Sheridan weighed up a number of factors including Hansen's lack of criminal history, strong work history, the limited offending time frame and that 98 per cent were lower range images.
She also considered the "unusual" way Hansen first accessed the child abuse material and the consequential effect it had on his past abuse that was untreated.
"I am satisfied there are exceptional circumstances," Just Sheridan said.
Hansen was jailed for 15 months with immediate release on a $1000 three-year good behaviour bond.
He was also placed on a 15-month wholly suspended jail term for three years as well as a two-year probation order under which he must submit to medical, psychiatric and psychological treatment as directed.
Judge Sheridan told him the importance for counselling and rehabilitation "can't be overemphasised by me" and said it was "what's guiding me" in relation to the circumstances and his past history.