Thirroul Man's Appeal Victory
THE only Australian arrested in worldwide child pornography
raids in February has successfully appealed against his sentence.
Matthew Craig Evans of Thirroul was caught with 22,000 pictures
of naked young girls on his computer and was placed on a two-year
good behaviour bond in July.
Convictions were recorded against him and he was placed on a sex
offender register for eight years.
He was required to notify police if he changed jobs, moved house
or travelled interstate.
But in Wollongong yesterday, District Court Judge Joe Phelan
upheld Evans' appeal, ordering that no convictions be recorded.
Evans must still serve out a two-year good behaviour bond, but
his name has been scratched from the sex offen-ders register.
Judge Phelan said the case was unusual, and warned that other
child sex offend-ers should not expect such leniency.
He said Evans was not a sexual predator likely to abuse
vulnerable children, rather he was a "shy young man" with
low self-esteem whose sexual fantasies had spiralled out of control.
Evans had since made headway against his addiction with intensive
counselling and doctors believed he was no risk to the community.
But Judge Phelan banned Evans from accessing porno-graphy or becoming
involved in any online pornographic sites.
Evans was the only Australian arrested after a three-year international
child pornography investigation led by a British high-tech crime unit
and involving police from the FBI, Europol, Germany, New Zealand and
Australian Federal Police.
Evans was found to be a member of the internet bulletin board Private
Xing World and tracked to his Thirroul home via his server.
Evans admitted to downloading 22,000 images of naked young girls and
storing on his hard drive 150 movie files of young girls under the age
of 16 having sex.
Crown solicitor Anali Cabrera had argued Evans should be registered so
the community could keep watch on him and to deter him from reoffending.
But defence counsel Terry McGill said new child pornography laws meant
Evans could be forced to report for the next 15 years.
He said that was ludicrous given the maximum penalty was two years in jail.
Judge Phelan said the register was "somewhat draconian", but noted that
child sex offences were so common that parliaments everywhere were
Judge Phelan said Evans' crimes were not trivial but were tempered by
his clean criminal record, his good standing at work, his frank admissions
and his willingness to seek help.
"All of the pointers are towards a situation where he will not
reoffend," the judge said.
The Director of Public Prosecutions is considering an appeal.
Illawarra Mercury (25-11-2004)