Michael Allan Cocking

Posted: October 22, 2012 by Serendipity in Location, Queensland, Suspended Sentence
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http://www.cairns.com.au/article/2010/07/16/118511_local-news.html

Cairns girls victim of sneaky photos

Melanie Petrinec

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Cairns Post

A CAIRNS man who secretly took pictures of schoolgirls as they undressed has been jailed.

Michael Allan Cocking, 47, pleaded guilty in Cairns District Court yesterday to two charges of taking indecent photographs of children under 16.

Crown prosecutor Gelma Meoli said Cocking instructed St Monica’s College students in sailing at Yorkeys Knob in November, 2007.

After a lesson on November 14, he urged two students to get changed back into their school uniforms in his office.

Ms Meoli said while the girls were in the office, they noticed a number of digital cameras set up.

At first the girls, aged 14 and 15, thought the cameras were turned off, but one student later noticed an extended lens. “She realised it was set up and activated,” Ms Meoli told the court.

“She took the camera from the office and notified the teacher.”

Ms Meoli said photographs were taken of the girls “in a state of undress”.

A number of other students and their teacher saw the photographs, and the police were called.

Ms Meoli said Cocking initially denied the act was deliberate.

“He told police he placed the camera in the office and it may have accidentally activated itself,” she said.

Defence barrister Jim Henry said his client became severely depressed in the wake of the incident and locked himself in his home for two years.

He said Cocking told him “I feared I may offend again because I don’t understand why I did what I did”.

Judge Brian Harrison said Cocking, who had no previous criminal history, was in a position of trust as the girls’ instructor.

“What you did was a shocking breach of that trust … and repulsive in the eyes of the community,” he said.

Judge Harrison sentenced Cocking to one year in prison, to be suspended and released on a two-year probation order after serving three months.

 

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