Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

Canberra man gaoled for online child exploitation offences

Date of Publication: 
10 November 2015

A 30-year-old Canberra man, Joshua Ferguson was yesterday sentenced to 22 months imprisonment, to serve 5 months in custody, for child exploitation offences.   Ferguson was sentenced in relation to offences for accessing, transmitting and possessing child pornography material.

On 3 December 2013 AFP Child Protection Operations members attended Ferguson’s residence, where a search warrant was executed.   At that search warrant Police seized three electronic devices, (a laptop, mobile phone and USB stick), which were owned and used by Ferguson.  Those devices were subsequently examined and found to contain child pornography material.

On 31 August 2015, the day his matter was listed for trial, Ferguson plead guilty in relation to a number offences involving child pornography, including that he accessed 12 picture files, that he accessed and transmitted 3 video files, and that he possessed 39 video files and 13 images.

Conversations recovered on Ferguson’s laptop also showed that he participated in online discussions using Skype seeking and sharing child pornography material.

Chief Justice Murrell in sentencing Ferguson accepted his expressed remorse as genuine, but noted that he also minimised his own accountability.  She accepted that he participated in the offending to gain enjoyment, but also that he did so as a way to connect with men.

Her Honour also noted that general deterrence is especially important when sentencing for offences such as this one, and that such offences do involve real victims, and are always serious offences.

David Adsett, CDPP Deputy Director said ‘Offences targeting those who exploit children via the use of services such as the internet will not be tolerated’.

‘This type of offending is becoming more common and it was vital that prosecutors argued that general deterrence be a paramount consideration when sentencing the offender’, added Adsett.


Joshua Ferguson was convicted and sentenced 9 November 2015 to:

  • five counts of accessing or transmitting child pornography material contrary to subsection 474.19(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth)
  • one count of possessing child pornography contrary to section 65 of the Crimes Act 1900 (ACT).

CDPP Media Contact: or 02 6206 5708