Child pornography conviction

A NEWRY man claimed he accessed almost 7000 images of child pornography, purely to monitor his house mate’s access to the evil material, a court has heard.

Francis Henderson, 72, formerly of Eurack, who has since moved to Newry where he and his co-accused Douglas Andrew are buying a house together, pleaded guilty in Geelong Magistrates’ Court on Thursday to possessing child pornography.

Police Prosecutor, Leading Senior Constable Kylie Jane said that, between January 2007 and October 2010, Henderson was living at Eurack Rd, Eurack with Andrew.

She said that on July 23, 2010, police executed a search warrant on their home and seized a computer and hard-drive belonging to Henderson.

“Forensic analysis confirmed the computer contained images of child pornography,’’ she said.

“A second computer, also belonging to Henderson, was seized in October 2010 and also taken for analysis.’’

The prosecutor said both computers contained a total of 6939 images of child pornography, with the vast number of images appearing to be children under 12.

She said anyone using the computers would have been able to access the images.

Sen-Constable Jane told the court that on May 9, 2011, Henderson was interviewed by police and admitted ownership of the computers but made no comment in relation to the images.

She said Douglas Andrew was dealt with in February, 2011, after pleading guilty to four counts of making and possessing child pornography.

“He was sentenced to 12 months jail suspended for two years and given a two year Community Based Order,’’ she said.

“Andrew also has a prior for committing an indecent act with a child under 16.’’

Ruth Champion, for Henderson, said her client and Andrew were still house mates, but now lived in Newry where they were paying off a house.

She said Henderson was accessing the sites used by Andrew to monitor what he was looking at and supervise his access to child pornography.

Ms Champion said Henderson, who suffered a range of health problems, had no prior convictions and expressed regret for his offending.

“He has a good insight into the inappropriate nature of the material he accessed,’’ Ms Champion said.

Magistrate Stephen Myall convicted Henderson and sentenced him to three months jail suspended for 18 months.

Henderson will also remain on the Sex Offenders Register for the next eight years.