University student first to be sentenced over internet porn


January 15, 2004

A university graduate is facing jail under tough new Queensland laws aimed at catching pedophiles preying on children in internet chat rooms.

Matthew William Ross Kennings will be the first person sentenced under the laws next month after pleading guilty in the District Court in Brisbane yesterday.

The 26-year-old refugee centre volunteer was charged in July last year with intending to procure a person he believed to be under 16 years old to engage in a sexual act.

The new laws were introduced two months beforehand, with police and the state’s Crime and Misconduct Commission setting up a joint operation to target offenders.

Kennings was caught after making contact with one of the officers who was posing as a 13-year-old girl using the name BeckyBoo13 in internet chatroom MSN Whisper.

Crown prosecutor Peter Feeney told the court today the unemployed arts and media studies graduate asked her if she was a virgin before arranging a meeting.

He said Kennings, using the names BluesDAMACDADDY and BrizGuy0001, also warned her against telling her mother his age.

Kennings was arrested after they arranged to meet at the eternal flame in Brisbane’s Anzac Square.

Defence barrister Catherine Morgan told the court Kennings did not linger at the meeting point after feeling foolish about his actions.

He was stopped by investigators who found two pages of internet porn sites in his bag.

Police also discovered 110 pictures on a computer he was using which belonged to his sister and her husband.

Morgan said Kennings, who was meant to be looking for work, was suffering depression and now seeking help from a psychologist.

She said his family, long-term girlfriend and her family remained faithful.

In arguing against sending Kennings to jail, Ms Morgan said “cyberspace adultery” was rife in the community and Kennings’ activities were down the scale of child sex offences.

She also said investigators, who sent Kennings a photo of former pop star Sophie Monk when he asked for a picture, were being provocative.

“This is an isolated incident in the life of an immature … man who is suffering depression,” Ms Morgan told the court.

Feeney argued for a three-year jail term, saying it was a serious example of a unique crime.

District Court Judge Brian Hoath will hand down his sentence on February 13 after a psychologist’s report is completed.

Judge delays sentencing of Internet sex offender

Posted Wed Jan 14, 2004 3:30pm AEDT

A Brisbane District Court judge has adjourned the sentencing of a 26-year-old man who has pleaded guilty to using the Internet with intent to procure a child for sex.

The court heard that Matthew William Ross Kennings met a Crime and Misconduct Commission investigator posing as a 13-year-old girl in an Internet chat room last year.

Prosecutor Peter Feeney says Kennings was persistent in pursuing who he thought was a young girl for sex and arranged a meeting in Brisbane’s Anzac Square, where he was arrested.

Mr Feeney asked for a three-year jail term.

But defence barrister Catherine Morgan argued Kennings should not be sentenced on the basis that he might have committed a more serious offence had the meeting been real and asked for time for the preparation of a psychiatric report.

Judge Brian Hoath adjourned the matter until next month.


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