A 23-year-old Melbourne man, Matthew David Graham, who controlled multiple child exploitation websites on the ‘dark web’, was today sentenced to 15 years and 6 months imprisonment with a non-parole period of 10 years.
Graham pleaded guilty to 13 Commonwealth charges including online child exploitation offences of controlling, promoting and making available child pornography and child abuse material, as well as encouraging others to commit offences against children outside of Australia to create material for his websites.
At the time of the offending, Graham was unemployed and living with his parents.
The United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) referred the matter to the Australian Federal Police who worked with Victoria Police under the Joint Anti Child Exploitation team.
It was discovered that Graham was just 19-years-old when he assumed an online persona of ‘Lux’— the name used to access a network on the dark web where he controlled, distributed and facilitated the production of child pornography material.
In August 2014, Graham was arrested and a search warrant executed at his parent’s home. Digital Forensic Analysts from Victoria Police seized a number of electronic devices which collectively contained over 12,000 images and 130 videos. Initially he refused to provide passwords to his encrypted devices even after a court ordered him to do so.
‘The material examined in this matter was by far the most horrific I’ve examined in my legal career—they can only be described as inhumanely cruel and vile acts’, said CDPP Principal Federal Prosecutor, Krista Breckweg.
‘Graham’s offending behind his computer was brutal because of his continuous cruelty”, added Breckweg.
In handing down his sentence today, County Court Judge Michael Tinney described the conduct as ‘unparalleled’—all being run from behind the closed door of Graham’s bedroom.
‘Your parents were aware that your life was off the rails and were worried but never in their wildest dreams could they have imagined the twisted and evil life you were leading in the dark shadows of the cyberworld’, said Judge Tinney.
Presentence detention was declared as 569 days.
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Matthew David Graham was convicted and sentenced on 17 March 2016 for:
one count of promoting child pornography material contrary to subsection 474.19(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth)
two counts of controlling child pornography material contrary to subsection 474.20(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth)
one count of encouraging an offence against Division 272 of the Criminal Code (Cth) contrary to subsection 272.19(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth)
one count of connecting equipment to a telecommunications network with the intention of facilitating a serious offence against a law of the Commonwealth contrary to subsection 474.14(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth)
one count to make available child pornography material contrary to subsection 474.19(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth)
one count of engaging in conduct with the intention of benefiting from an offence against Division 272 of the Criminal Code (Cth), contrary to subsection 272.18(1) the Criminal Code (Cth)
two counts of make available child abuse material contrary to subsection 474.22 (1) of the Criminal Code (Cth)
one count of possessing child pornography material with the intention of committing an offence against section 474.19 of the Criminal Code (Cth), contrary to subsection 474.20(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth)
one count of possessing child abuse material with the intention of committing an offence against section 474.22 of the Criminal Code (Cth), contrary to subsection 474.23(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth)
one count of failing to comply with an order contrary to subsection 3LA(5) of the Crimes Act 1914.
The maximum penalties for the online child exploitation offences range between 15 and 20 years imprisonment.