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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 increasing penalties.
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)
Erin O'Dwyer



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