Patrick Cronin

Ballarat man caught with hundreds of child porn photos avoids jail

Alicia Thomas

27 Jul 2016, 10 p.m.

A magistrate has been persuaded not to jail a 27-year-old Ballarat North man who was found with hundreds of child exploitation images.

Sentencing via a videolink from the Geelong Magistrates Court, magistrate Ronald Saines told Patrick Cronin the small percentage of illegal images found, combined with his clean criminal history and early plea convinced him jail was not the most appropriate action.

Cronin had earlier pleaded guilty to one count each of possessing child pornography and possessing cannabis.

In June the Ballarat Magistrates Court heard 62,340 images were found on Cronin’s laptop, with 612 images showing examples of illegal child exploitation.

A number of the 612 images included sexual activities with toddlers and pre-pubescent children.

Sentencing was deferred until Wednesday while a community corrections order (CCO) was completed.

Having read the report Mr Saines said he was persuaded not to impose a term of imprisonment.

“The offence is punishable by prison, and in some cases the courts find no alternative than to impose a term of imprisonment,” Mr Saines said.

“But in your case it can be said only a small number of images were found among the larger number of images you have downloaded.”

Cronin was convicted and sentenced to a two-year CCO with conditions to undertake 200 hours of community work and participate in a sex offender program.

He was also placed on the sex offender register for eight years.

“Not only you, but the community will benefit from the court implementing treatment and rehabilitation, rather than placing you in prison which could be unproductive,” Mr Saines said.

“Were there to be any form of repeat it is likely you will receive a substantial term of imprisonment.”

Cronin’s lawyer said her client understood he was at a point in time where he could benefit from conditions on a CCO order.

“He is more than willing to do such things,” she said.


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  1. Gary says:

    If you care to research Ron Saines you will find that he may well not be a fit and proper person to sit on the bench? I considered taking perverting the course of justice” charges against him over the Ali Jaffari decision, especially given that Jaffari was a repeat offender, in many locations. I would suggest you make some sort of similar protest to the Attorney General of Victoria. Saines is a menace, as far as I am concerned, and some adverse publicity like a Facebook page exposing his wrong-doings wight be the go. This dastardly magistrate deserves exposure. There is more on the internet about him (Saines) if you care to look?

    Gary O

    Geelong West, Vic

  2. allan says:

    so this guy gets off and some guy gets ten months prison one drive disqualified charge as he was taking his daughter to hospital how rude of the system those bastards need locking up too

  3. prettiigurl says:

    I personally do believe the Magistrate Ronald Saines was eminently wrong in his handing down of this sex offenders sentence.

    As a mother myself ‘ I truly find it most disturbing that a magistrate who has had the power vested in him to basically just let this person walk away without even serving one day behind bars!

    Because according to you Magistrate Ronald Swaines ” jail was not the most appropriate action ”

    No Your Honor’ Neither was the downloading of over 600 images of Toddlers who were seen to be engaging in sexual activities!

    How does that then allow you to say that your ” not persuaded to impose a term of imprisionment?”

    Come on now’ this is child exploitation that we are talking about here! You Sir’ Your basically just aiding and abetting this perverted individual!

    Instead lets just give him a 200 hour community services order and send him right back out into the community where he can be free to thrive in his perverted ways’ and allow him all the time he needs to wait for that day where he Is going to want act on/act out his pervertedness and rape a child!

    Sir’ to me that there is a perverted idea of justice and you should be stripped of that power that has been vested in you and hang your head in Shame!

    I thought your job role was meant to be Determining the existence and the amount of liability according to current laws and acting for the good of the people!

    The only good that has been done here Is by that sick individual’ who really should have served time behind bars’ which would delivered the message home to him and others that this type of behavior is inexcusable and will not be tolerated!

    But it’s apparent that it will be by you #Magistrate_Ronald_Swaines!

  4. Batman says:

    Lock em ALL UP and leave rm

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