Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

Nicholas Hunter (a pseudonym)

Year: 
2017-2018
Category: 
Child Exploitation
Location: 
Victoria

On 21 July 2017, 28-year-old Nicholas Hunter (a pseudonym) was sentenced in the County Court of Victoria in Melbourne after he pleaded guilty to a number of Commonwealth and State child pornography offences. Hunter was sentenced to a total of five years’ imprisonment and ordered to be released on a Recognisance Release Order after serving a total effective actual term of imprisonment of three years and three months.

Hunter clandestinely filmed his partner’s 15-year-old sister undressing, drying and dressing herself in the bathroom at his home. He then isolated specific screenshots to create individual images and later emailed four of the images to another person.

Then, between 24 July 2015 and 2 February 2016, Hunter sent 22 emails to 11 different people, to which he attached a total of 33 items of child pornography material. The majority of these images or videos depicted sexual penetration between children, or between adults and children.

During a search of Hunter’s residence in October 2016, he was found to be in possession of 855 items (images and videos) of child pornography, which he stored using five different online accounts. Hunter admitted to police that the children depicted in the child pornography ranged in age between three and 14.

Upon sentence, her Honour Judge Hogan of the County Court of Victoria described Hunter’s behaviour as “seriously creepy towards a person who should have been protected under your roof”. Her Honour said the victim “has to continue to live with this unsettling secret violation of her privacy and the fact that images of herself are now available to be viewed by depraved persons who seek out child pornography on the internet”.

Judge Hogan said the children shown in Hunter’s material were “too young to be able to defend themselves against the acts of debasement depicted”.

“In most of the material, their faces are visible and readily identifiable. Not only has their childhood innocence been violated in pervasive, disturbing ways, but some of the children have been subjected to physical cruelty. The images of what has been done to them will be available indefinitely for other criminals, like yourself, to gaze upon repeatedly on the internet,” said Judge Hogan.

Judge Hogan observed that “producing, accessing and sharing child pornography material cruelly exploits, humiliates and harms children, both physically and psychologically. By its nature, child pornography offending can be difficult to detect. Community concern about the alarming increase in child pornography has resulted in Parliament increasing a number of the penalties relating to it in recent years”.

Sentence

Hunter was sentenced to a total effective sentence of five years’ imprisonment. Her Honour Judge Hogan made orders to the effect that Hunter will be released on a Recognisance Release Order after serving a period of actual imprisonment of three years and three months.

Commonwealth charges:

  • 1 charges to Produce Child Pornography Material contrary to section 474.20 of the Criminal Code (Cth)
  • 2 charges to transmit Child Pornography Material contrary to section 474.19 of the Criminal Code (Cth)).

Hunter was convicted and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. Her Honour Judge Hogan ordered that Hunter was to be released on a Recognisance Release Order after serving two years’ imprisonment on these charges.

State charge:

  • 1 charge to Possess Child Pornography material contrary to section 70 of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic))

Hunter was sentenced as a serious sexual offender pursuant to the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic). He was convicted and sentenced to 30 months imprisonment. Her Honour Judge Hogan ordered that 15 months of this term of imprisonment was to be served in addition to the two years’ of actual imprisonment required to be served on the Commonwealth charges.