Power – Patrick - Photo5


Jail time reduced for ex-NSW prosecutor

July 19, 2007 – 12:14PM

A decision by a judge to cut two months off the jail sentence imposed on former NSW crown prosecutor Patrick Power for possessing child pornography has sparked political anger.

Power, 54, sentenced in May to a minimum eight months jail after he pleaded guilty to the pornography charge, had been granted bail pending the outcome of Thursday’s appeal against the severity of the sentence.

But Power was behind bars on Thursday, after a judge refused to suspend his jail term.

In Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court, Acting Judge Brian Boulton sliced two months from Power’s jail time, citing special circumstances including the hardship he would encounter in jail due to his former profession.

However, both sides of NSW politics agreed the reduced sentence was not in line with community expectations.

“The public expect the strongest possible messages to be sent in cases like this; they will find this decision inexplicable,” Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell said.

Mr O’Farrell again questioned why the matter was dealt with initially by the Local Court, where it attracts a two year maximum jail term, and not the District Court, where the maximum penalty is five years.

While declining to comment directly on the appeal outcome, his opposition legal affairs spokesman, Greg Smith, said he was “relieved at least the court side has finished”.

“Strangely, this sentence that Patrick Power has had is fairly severe compared to most of the sentences given for child pornography,” he told Macquarie Radio.

Mr Smith, who was a deputy DPP at the time Power’s pornographic images were discovered, again defended his decision to confront his former colleague about the images before contacting police.

A spokeswoman for Attorney-General John Hatzistergos said: “While sentencing is a matter for the courts, many people would hold the view that no sentence is tough enough for this particular crime.”

Power’s lawyers had asked the court to suspend the sentence.

The Victorian DPP, which prosecuted the matter, said any decision on further legal action would be a matter for the NSW authorities.

The court was told a DPP technician, whom Power had enlisted to repair his personal computer last July, found 433 images of child pornography and 31 videos depicting children – some aged under 10 – in sexual acts.

Acting Judge Boulton described the images as “disgusting” and “depraved material”.

He said some images showed young boys in “obvious pain”, with one video showing a five-year-old boy being anally raped after handcuffs were applied to his arms and feet.

The court heard documentary evidence from a psychiatrist that Power was not a paedophile, but was depressed and “addicted” to downloading pornography.

“I am not prepared to find (Power) was in any way acting compulsively when he downloaded the child pornographic material from the Internet,” Judge Boulton said.

“Even if I were, it would have been perfectly obvious to (Power) from the very first download that the possession of the material was itself a criminal offence.

“He was a mature man in his early 50s and a top criminal lawyer.

“He can hardly avoid the predictable outcome of his behaviour.”

Power’s original 15-month sentence had an eight month non-parole period which was cut to six months on Thursday, meaning he will be eligible for release on January 18.


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  1. Liam _ says:

    And this is why I don’t trust the judicial system!

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