No sentence reduction for former City of Melbourne employee on child porn offences


April 4, 2013, 12:44 p.m.

A man convicted of “grossly depraved and sickening” child pornography offences has lost a Supreme Court bid to have his jail term reduced.

Ken Ross Bayliss, a former Melbourne City Council employee, pleaded guilty last year to using internet chat rooms and file-sharing program GigaTribe to access and transmit hundreds of child pornography images and videos.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of Appeal rejected Bayliss’ application to appeal against the length of the three-and-a-half year jail term imposed by the County Court in September.

The County Court heard that Bayliss, 40, sent more than 970 child pornography images and videos and received more than 1000 similar files between June 2009 and June 2011. He also participated in online text conversations containing graphic depictions of sexual activity and abuse of young children.

When Australian Federal Police raided Bayliss’ home in June 2011, they were unable to find the images and videos on his computer. However, they found chat logs and evidence that he had transferred child pornography files on GigaTribe.

Bayliss initially denied any wrongdoing in police interviews, but pleaded guilty when he was committed to stand trial.

In sentencing, County Court judge Howard Mason described Bayliss’ text conversations as “grossly depraved and sickening” and said the images he accessed were at “a very serious level”.

“Some [internet users] appeared to hold you in high esteem because of your ability to compose descriptions of extremely graphic and violent sexual acts and for your collection of child pornography,” Magistrate Mason said.

The County Court heard that at the time of the offences, Bayliss was already on the sex offender register and had been spared a jail term after being found guilty of possessing more than 800 child pornography images in 2004. He was working as a senior business consultant at the City of Melbourne at the time, earning a wage of $85,000.

A psychologist’s report tendered to the court said Bayliss was trapped in a cycle of guilt over his actions, and sought to escape his low self-esteem by retreating to masturbation and thoughts involving power and dominance.

In sentencing, Mr Mason noted Bayliss was bullied about being gay as a teenager and had a history of ill health, including a stroke, asthma and HIV.

Bayliss took the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal, arguing that the County Court judge had wrongly regarded his rehabilitation prospects as low.

Bayliss’ lawyers said the three-and-a-half year sentence and two-year non parole period was “manifestly excessive” because he pleaded guilty, showed remorse, engaged in sex offender treatment and had been diagnosed with HIV and paraphilia.

But Supreme Court of Appeal judges David Harper and Paul Coghlan dismissed the claims and denied Bayliss the right to an appeal hearing.

The judges said they could not conclude that Bayliss “was and is genuinely remorseful”. They said Bayliss’ progress in the sex offender treatment program had been limited, according to a probationary psychologist report.

“The applicant will undoubtedly suffer hardship in prison which those in normal health will not, and his health did affect his judgment – while also hampering his prospects of rehabilitation,” the judges said.

“But it is not sufficient to support the conclusion that the application for leave to appeal should succeed.”


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