Posts Tagged ‘Child Protection Act’

Ex-firefighter avoids prison despite having ‘worst child abuse material’ police officer had ever seen

By Georgia Hitch

Updated yesterday at 3:24pm

A former Darwin fire commander has escaped jail time for possessing what police described as some of the worst child abuse videos they had ever seen.

Andrew Stenhouse, 58, also known as Joe, pleaded guilty to possessing eight child abuse videos, with two rated in the worst category of child abuse material and the other six in the second most severe category.

Justice Peter Barr told the court the worst category included depictions of “torture, cruelty or abuse of children” and the second-worst category included “penetrative sexual activity between adults and children”.

He also said one police investigator had described the material as the “worst example of child abuse material” they had seen and found it “difficult and distressing” to view.

But Stenhouse walked free from court after Justice Barr reduced his sentence from 12 months to nine months for cooperating with investigations and pleading guilty at an early stage.

The nine-month sentence was then fully suspended.

Attempt by Stenhouse ‘to seek emotional respite’

The court heard Stenhouse had downloaded other files containing child abuse material that had been deleted from his hard drive and could not be recovered by police.

Justice Barr said in a psychiatric evaluation Stenhouse had said he viewed the child abuse videos and other material – objects being blown up and people being killed – in an attempt to seek “emotional respite”.

The court heard at the time Stenhouse was concerned about health issues after being diagnosed with a high level of PFOS – a controversial chemical previously used in firefighting foam currently being investigated by Australian and international authorities.

Stenhouse was also affected by a fatal accident that occurred between an aviation firetruck and a car which occurred on his watch as commander.

“I fail to understand how the type of material referred to in the facts [or] videos of things being blown up and people being killed could possibly have given you any possible emotional respite,” Justice Barr said.

But he said there was no evidence Stenhouse had a psychosocial disorder or sought sexual gratification by watching the videos.

Shame and embarrassment to act as deterrent

Justice Barr also said he took into account that Stenhouse had not paid for the videos, had a low amount of them, had deleted them after watching them and had stopped accessing them at the time of his arrest.

“You had not accessed child abuse material for some two months prior to the police search last year,” he said.

“You were no longer an active participant in this activity.”

Justice Barr also told the court “the shame and embarrassment [Stenhouse] experienced … and [his] public humiliation subsequently” would also act as deterrents.

Stenhouse will be subject to ongoing reporting and supervision under the Child Protection Act.





No-show so to jail you go

June 26, 2014, midnight

A CONVICTED sex offender from Victoria was stunned this week when an Albury court jailed him for two months for failing to tell authorities he had moved from Albury to Wodonga and then to Melbourne.

Jaden Mitchell Mills, 30, charged with failing to comply with reporting obligations, had pleaded guilty to the charge when he appeared in Albury Local Court charge in April.

On Tuesday when he appeared for sentencing, magistrate Tony Murray told him an intensive corrections order and home detention could not be considered.

Mr Murray said it was a serious offence and imposed a two-month jail term.

Mills, stunned by the penalty, said: “What? Jail?”.

As two officers escorted him from court, Mills said: “Are you fair dinkum?”.

Mills is on a register under the Child Protection Act for life, requiring him to report to police every 12 months. He was convicted in 2007 for sexual assault with violence.

Mills lived in Albury for some time and reported to police there in November 2012. He failed to report last year.

Authorities tracked him to the Melbourne suburb of Croydon after discovering he had lived in Tourmaline Drive, Wodonga, for some time without notifying them.

Yesterday, he also appeared in Albury before another magistrate, Megan Greenwood, seeking appeal bail.

Police prosecutor Sgt Shannon Lewis said Mills had left NSW and it was three months before police had found him.

“In my submission, he does face a custodial penalty of sorts,” Sgt Lewis said.

She said a surety and reporting conditions could negate the risk of Mills failing to attend and it could protect the public.

Ms Greenwood said there were two unacceptable risks, one being would Mills attend court for his appeal and the other he could be a danger to the community.

“I am concerned about the risk to the community,” she said.

“This is not a simple non-compliance.

“The police had to go to some lengths to find him.”

Mills was released on $5000 bail if he reported to Croydon police three times a week.

The court was told in tendered facts that Mills had reported to police in Albury on November 29, 2012, for his annual compliance.

At the time, he was living in Pemberton Street, had work at a retail store and provided police with a phone number and two mobile numbers.

But Mills failed to report last November and did not advise police of any change in his circumstances.

A check revealed his residence was vacant and two of the nominated phone numbers had been disconnected.

Calls to the other number remained unanswered.

Police finally spoke to him by phone on February 26 and Mills told them he was living at Croydon.

Pervert gets prison sentence

Peter Hardwick | 5th February 2011

CONVICTED pervert Andrew David Humphries had moved in with a family and shared a room with a 13-year-old disabled boy in breach of orders that he have no contact with children under 16, Toowoomba Magistrates Court heard yesterday.

Humphries, 41, had been a “reportable offender” under the Child Protection Act since his conviction in September last year for possessing child pornography in the form of mobile phone photographs of children’s genitalia depicted in medical books, the court heard.

One of a number of restrictions imposed by the court was that Humphries was to have no contact with children under 16 unless under approved supervision, or reside in a house where children under 16 live, or loiter or remain within 200 metres of a school or day-care centre.

In December police had been told Humphries had moved into a Rockville home with a family and was sharing a room with a 13-year-old disabled boy.

When questioned by police he admitted he had moved into the home for about a week-and-a-half and said he had helped undress the boy for showering as the lad was severely handicapped, prosecutor Sergeant Mark McKenzie told the court.

Humphries also admitted he had sexual thoughts about children, but told police he had never touched the child inappropriately, Sgt McKenzie said.

Humphries said he had moved into the family home because the only accommodation he had been able to find had been within 200 metres of a school or day-care centre which would be in breach of his five-year order.

Humphries pleaded guilty to contravening an offender prohibition order and giving false or misleading information.

He also pleaded guilty to an unrelated public nuisance offence arising from his standing naked outside public toilets at the University of Southern Queensland on the afternoon of September 26.

Magistrate Bruce Schemioneck sentenced Humphries to 12 months jail, minus the 58 days he had spent in pre-sentence custody, and ordered he be eligible to apply for release on parole from April 8.

Sex offender in job hunt at Lismore college

4th May 2009

A LISMORE artist who applied for a job to tutor at a local college where children under the age of 18 also study, has been found guilty of failing to disclose he was on a child sex offenders register.

Paul Frances Griffin, 61, had pleaded not guilty in Lismore Local Court to two charges of providing false/misleading information regarding registration, and making a false statement.

The offences took place on June 4 last year when Griffin signed documents in a job application with ACE – Adult Community Education North Coast Inc, now operating as Lismore Community College.

The first charge came under the Child Protection (Offenders Registration) Act 2000 in which Griffin was accused, and found guilty of, providing information he knew to be false.

The second charge related to the Commission for Children and Young People Act 1998 with Griffin accused, and found guilty of, signing the ‘Prohibited Employment Declaration’ knowing he was a ‘prohibited person’.

College manager Anne Stapleton told the court part of her role was to liaise with potential tutors for students who were as young as 14 years and nine months.

Ms Stapleton said Griffin was interviewed and in the final step of the application process was given the Prohibited Employment Declaration Form when applying for a position to tutor art classes.

“He signed it,” she said.

During cross examination by police prosecutor Sg Steve Gerrish,  Ms Stapleton said Griffin did not discuss his criminal record in particular detail but spoke about what people did when they were younger and the implications on them in later life that could be unfair.

She told Griffin that if he was not a prohibited person under the Child Protection Act then he could sign the document, which he did.

Ms Stapleton said she put a Post-it note on the document because ‘I felt unsure about things’ and wanted a check done on him.

This revealed Griffin was on the register and the college did not employ him.

Griffin stated that he described his conviction in detail and told it did not matter because the course dealt with adults.

“I said I had a conviction for sex with an under-age girl in 1973,” Griffin said in his defence.

“You said to me thanks for being honest, it will not affect (the application),” he said.

“No, I said thank you but what your criminal record was, was never mentioned,” Ms Stapleton replied.

Ms Stapleton said that in Lismore it was ‘very hard to find tutors in the arty area’.

Magistrate Jeff Linden said it was clear the courses were available to people under 18 and the fact was Griffin falsely signed a document he was capable of reading, and he was a ‘prohibited person’.

“You were aware you had been convicted of a serious assault of a young person,” Mr Linden said.
He convicted Griffin on both charges and placed him on a two-year good behaviour bond.


Ex-teachers admit sex offences against students


The Age – Page 8


TWO former Melbourne school teachers yesterday admitted serious sex offences – 32 years apart – against teenage female students.

Travis Glenn Robertson, 27, pleaded guilty to eight charges involving sexual penetration and indecent acts in 2001 and 2003.

Paul Frances Griffin, 57, appeared in the same court to plead guilty to the sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl in 1973.

Griffin was arrested in Western Australia this year on a charge of indecent and unlawful assault and returned voluntarily to Victoria.

Melbourne Magistrates Court was told that since 1973 he had embraced Buddhism and had lived in Sri Lanka and Thailand as a monk.

Robertson began offending while a physical education teacher at Templestowe College where the student, then 15, regarded him a role model.

In a conversation between the pair recorded by police in January, Robertson apologised and admitted that “I shouldn’t have been with you”.

He told her the “student-teacher relationship line, you know, got blurred” and that it “shouldn’t have happened . . . I should have been old enough to know better”.

The girl said in a statement tendered to court that Robertson, then aged 23, started favouring her in year 10 and she “freaked out” when he later kissed her.

“I felt uncomfortable that he was my teacher and older than me,” she told police.

She said in her statement: “Sometimes I get really angry at him because he has made my life miserable at times. Having to go to class and respect him as a teacher through year 12 was extremely difficult.”

Robertson, of Nunawading, was ordered to appear in the County Court in August on two charges of an indecent act with a child under 16.

He will also face five charges of sexual penetration of a child of 17 under his care and a similar charge involving a child under 16.

Amber Harris, prosecuting, said Griffin was an art teacher in 1973 for an alternative school in Belgrave Heights. The student drank “claret punch” at an orientation function and performed oral sex on Griffin at his insistence after she decided it was “less invasive” than intercourse.

Florian Andrighetto, defending, said Griffin had totally rehabilitated and posed no threat to the community.

He was given a seven-month jail sentence suspended for 12 months and was registered as a sexual offender.