Man tries to make friends online with horrific child porn
A man claims the 21,381 photos, 3,450 videos and 831 shared files of horrifying child exploitation material he was caught with wasn't for his own use but gathered in an attempt to "make friends".
That is what the Bundaberg District Court heard today after Daniel Patrick Gall, 41, pleaded guilty to three charges including possessing child exploitation material, using a carriage service to access child pornography and using a carriage service to make child pornography material available.
Crown prosecutor Steven Dickson told the court Gall was caught last year by police using a bit torrent file sharing program.
On May 25 last year they detected Gall sharing 831 files of child pornography material on the program.
Police were able to track him using an IP address and searched his Bundaberg home on June 13 last year where they found a number of devices containing child exploitation material.
Mr Dickson said it included material of children aged from infants up to 15 years of age which showed them naked and in some instances being raped by adult men.
Mr Dickson said the material was found on a computer, hard drives and a phone.
Police seized the computer for further analysis where they found Gall accessed child pornography sites on 21 occasions.
The court heard Gall made a number of admissions to police including making an account on the computer to download the material and that he would download pictures and transfer them to an external hard drive to try to avoid detection.
Mr Dickson said Gall would meet people in online chat groups and share the material with their acceptance.
Mr Dickson said Gall had not spent any time on remand for the offences and that he had no criminal history of a similar nature.
He said the plea could be considered an early plea.
Gall's barrister Callan Cassidy told the court the offending occurred over a relatively short period of about three weeks.
He said his client was not accessing the files for personal use and he appreciated the wrongfulness of his conduct.
Mr Cassidy told the court his client had a difficult upbringing and suffered from PTSD, depression and social anxiety.
The court heard Gall was trying to make friends online and found himself on the dark web and in chat groups where people were accepting and friendly towards him.
The court heard Gall felt compelled to fulfil what people on the dark web were requesting and that he was horrified when he viewed the material himself.
Judge Jennifer Rosengren took into account Gall's plea of guilty and that it came at an early opportunity.
Judge Rosengren also took into account Gall was remorseful for his actions and co-operated with police by giving them the necessary passwords.
She said the offending was serious and the gravity of some of the material was concerning.
"These are not victimless crimes," she said.
"The children depicted in the videos and images are subjected to sexual abuse, physical hurt and psychological scarring and damage.
"Your conduct encourages the exploitation of young, vulnerable children and it is of a serious concern in our society that this material is so readily available and accessed."
Gall was sentenced to two years imprisonment which will be suspended after he serves four months.
He was also ordered to sign a recognisance of $500 to be of good behaviour for three years upon his release.
The computer, phone and hard drives were ordered to be forfeited to authorities.