Man jailed after ‘quest for sexual enlightenment’

November 24, 2004

A retired West Australian bureaucrat who downloaded 265,000 images of child pornography was sentenced to 26 months’ jail after a judge rejected his defence that he had been on a journey of sexual enlightenment.

Ernest Sydney Hulbert, 66, pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing child pornography arising from Operation Auxin, a national crackdown on child porn that led authorities to raid his home in September.

Western Australia District Court Judge Allan Fenbury sentenced the former general manager of the Kimberley Health Service to 26 months in jail, with a minimum 13 months before he is eligible for parole.

Judge Fenbury said the case was among the most serious of its kind.

The court was told Hulbert had four DVDs containing child pornography and also had a pornographic movie of a boy in various sexual poses.

The DVD images, which had been downloaded from the internet and divided into categories and sub-categories, showed children, some believed to be aged under five years, in sexual positions and engaged in sexual acts with adults. Other images simply showed naked children standing alone.

Judge Fenbury said some of the seized material was hard-core porn, depicting children suffering “gross abuse and exploitation”.

“It is sickening looking at it, and how a man who has had his own children can look at it I struggle to comprehend,” Judge Fenbury said.

He rejected the view of a clinical psychologist, outlined in court by Hulbert’s lawyer Mark Andrews, that the images were not downloaded for sexual gratification.

“My client’s instructions to me and to the psychologist are that his motive for possessing the material was not one of sexual gratification, rather a journey of enlightenment and understanding of his own sexuality and human sexual relationships,” Mr Andrews said.

He said Hulbert had become withdrawn and isolated after his 2001 conviction for importing and possessing books of child porn fiction, and had been denied a sexual relationship following the breakdown of his marriage in 1991.

Mr Andrews said two reports from the psychologist had not found any evidence of a “live interest” in children, and added Hulbert had downloaded the files without knowing how many images each contained.

However, prosecutor Sean Stocks said Hulbert had subscribed to a child porn website and had invested significant time sorting the images.

“He was paying, your honour, for the abuse of children,” Mr Stocks said.

The prosecution had sought a sentence approaching the maximum of five years, but Mr Andrews appealed for leniency for his ailing client, after conceding a jail term was the only appropriate punishment.

Outside court, Detective Senior Constable Graeme Barry described the images as disgusting, and sent a message that such crimes would not be tolerated.

“The court and the community are sending out a clear message to these sort of people that if they’re going to be involved in this sort of disgusting criminal activity, at the end of the day, the message is that if you get involved in it we’re going to catch you … and you’re going to go to jail,” Detective Barry said.

Former bureaucrat jailed over child porn images

Posted Wed Nov 24, 2004 1:49am AEDT

A former senior Western Australian bureaucrat has been jailed for 26 months for possessing more than a quarter of a million images of what have been described as sickening child pornography.

Ernest Sydney Hulbert, who worked for the Health Department, was arrested in September as part of Operation Auxin, a nationwide crackdown on child pornography on the Internet.

Police seized four DVDs which contained 265,000 images of children believed to be as young as five engaged in a range of sexual activity.

District Court judge Alan Fenbury rejected a suggestion from a psychologist who had interviewed Hulbert that he had downloaded the images as part of a voyage of personal discovery.

After the sentence, investigating officer Detective Senior Constable Graeme Barry said the images were disgusting.

“I’ve been involved in quite a few of these cases over the last few years and in my opinion it’s one of the more severe cases I’ve dealt with in my time in dealing with child abuse,” he said.


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