Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

Aaron VOON - Child exploitation offences

Child Exploitation
Western Australia

On 8 September 2017, 42-year-old Western Australian man Dr Aaron Voon was sentenced in the Perth District Court to a total effective sentence of 18 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months.  Dr Voon had earlier pleaded guilty to eight separate charges, which included filming boys' genitals at urinals and producing and possessing child pornography material in four countries, including Canada, the US, New Zealand and Australia.  One charge was discontinued because of insufficient evidence.

Dr Voon, a prominent child psychiatrist who practised for more than 10 years in Western Australia, was arrested in Canada on 22 May last year after he was caught filming a 10-year-old boy urinating in a public toilet in a mall in Edmonton City. He stood at a urinal immediately beside the boy and covertly filmed him on his iPhone 6.

When the boy’s father noticed what was happening he demanded to see Dr Voon’s phone. When Dr Voon refused to show him, the father and nearby bystanders seized his phone and restrained him until local police officers arrived and arrested him.

Dr Voon was charged by Canadian authorities with making and possessing child pornography, as well as voyeurism, but after a period in custody, he was then granted judicial interim release by Canadian authorities and permitted to return to Australia.

On 1 June 2016, the Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team—a joint initiative of the Australian Federal Police and Western Australia Police—executed a search warrant on Dr Voon’s home in Mount Pleasant and his clinical practice, both in Perth.  During the search of his home, a total of 12 videos and 409 still images were found on a laptop and two thumb drives; eight of the videos were of children urinating in public toilets.

Dr Voon returned to Perth on 9 June 2016. He was arrested as he landed at Perth Airport.

Because of the material found during the search of his home Dr Voon was charged in Australia with offences involving possession, obtaining or distributing child exploitation material, including more examples of Dr Voon filming boys' genitals after following them into urinals in Australia, New Zealand and the US.  After consultation with Canadian authorities, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions charged Dr Voon with the offences he had committed in Canada using the Commonwealth’s extraterritorial child sexual offences provisions, and the Canadian authorities discontinued their charges against him once he had pleaded to the offence in Australia.

Charge / Sentence

On 08 September 2017, Dr Voon was sentenced in the Perth District Court as follows: 

  • 1 count of possession of child exploitation material contrary to section 220 of the Criminal Code (WA) – count 9, 3 months’ imprisonment to commence 8 September 2017
  • 4 counts of producing, distributing or obtaining child pornography material outside Australia, contrary to section 273.5(1)(a)(ii) of the Criminal Code (Cth) – On the New Zealand offence, count 1, 9 months’ imprisonment to commence 8 September 2017 and to end on 7 June 2018; on counts 5 and 6, being offences committed at San Francisco USA and Edmonton Canada, sentenced on each count to 6 months imprisonment to commence 8 September 2017 and to end on 7 March 2018; and on count 8 at Edmonton Canada, 9 months’ imprisonment to commence on 7 June 2018 to end on 6 March 2019
  • 3 counts of production of child exploitation material contrary to section 218 of the Criminal Code (WA).   – counts 2, 3 and 4: 9 months imprisonment to commence 8 September 2017.

In relation to the Commonwealth charges he is to be released forthwith on a recognisance release order in the sum of $10,000 to be of good behaviour for a period of 18 months, and in relation to the State charges 9 months imprisonment to be suspended for 18 months.

One charge, count 7, was discontinued.

Therefore, the total effective sentence is 18 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months.

In handing down the sentence, His Honour Judge Troy took into account the time in custody in Canada before bail was granted, the images were not shared or distributed, and importantly, the mental illness conditions of Dr VOON being diagnosed with Asperger Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

To obtain the full judgment in this matter contact the relevant court.