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      No jail for possession of over 500 child abuse material files

      Our client was a 28-year-old IT professional from western Sydney.

      Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers executed a search warrant on both his place of employment and his home and seized a number of computers, laptops and hard drives.

      Initially he was charged with possess child abuse material in respect of over 3,000 image and video files. However, our client did not participate in an interview with police and did not make any admissions. This allowed us to negotiate the number of files down despite them being found on the devices.

      He was initially charged with 5 offences relating to the images and videos. Ultimately, we were able to amend the facts and reduce the charges so that he only needed to plead guilty to two offences relating to possessing and accessing child abuse material.

      The AFP initially also placed him on strict bail conditions which prevented him from accessing the internet for any purpose. This created obvious issues given his employment as an IT professional.

      We were able to file a bail variation with the court to allow him to access the internet for his employment and to send a receive correspondence with us as his lawyers.

      We also immediately referred him to a forensic psychologist specialising in sex offending. By the final sentencing hearing he had engaged in over 12 months of treatment.

      In the lead up to sentencing we were able to obtain evidence that the client was the sole income earner for his family. His incarceration would have resulted in a default on his mortgage repayments and result in his family having to leave the home.

      We were able to provide evidence to the court that he would effectively be unemployable in the IT industry and would need to change careers.

      Finally, we were able to point to his many months of rehabilitation. Our psychologist also provided an opinion that a term of full-time imprisonment would risk undoing the rehabilitation he had achieved.   

      Despite the prosecution strongly arguing that a term of full-time imprisonment must be imposed, we were able to persuade the Judge at Parramatta District Court to impose a lengthy recognizance release order. This meant that our client did not spend any time in custody.

      Our client and his family were overjoyed with the result.

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