Christopher Francis Costello

Posted: October 22, 2012 by Serendipity in Location, Queensland
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http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/internet-sex-groomers-appeal-dismissed-20110311-1bqo6.html

Internet sex groomer’s appeal dismissed

Christine Flatley

March 11, 2011 – 1:29PM

A Brisbane entertainment manager who was jailed after an online undercover police operation caught him trying to sexually groom a child in a chat room has lost an appeal against his conviction.

Christopher Francis Costello, 49, of Wishart, was found guilty in the Brisbane District Court in July last year on four counts of using the internet to expose a child under 16 to indecent material and one of using a carriage service to groom a child under 16.

He was sentenced to 27 months’ imprisonment, with Judge David Reid ordering he be released in September this year.

During the sentencing hearing, the court was told Costello spent 13 hours in early 2009 sending messages, pornographic images, and videos of himself masturbating to what he believed was a 14-year-old girl named “Cassie”.

The self-employed marketing manager was unaware that he was, in fact, speaking to an undercover male police officer posing as the girl.

On one occasion he phoned “Cassie” only to speak to another undercover police officer who was posing as the girl’s father.

Costello took his case to the Court of Appeal in Brisbane in February, where his lawyers argued the conviction was unsound because evidence was improperly led during the trial.

His counsel also argued there were major flaws in the prosecutor’s closing address and that Judge Reid failed to properly direct the jury about the use of circumstantial evidence.

In a written judgment handed down on Friday, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal, ruling the directions and summing up were satisfactory.

The court also ruled that on the whole of the evidence it was open to the jury to find Costello guilty.

 

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