Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP)

Six years gaol for 62-year-old man for online child exploitation offences

Date of Publication: 
9 September 2015

A 62-year-old Melbourne man, Kenneth Palliser was yesterday sentenced to six years imprisonment with a non-parole period of four years for five Commonwealth child exploitation offences—transmitting child pornography images and also disguising a child pornography virus and making unauthorised computer modifications. This was in addition to a sentence of eleven months imprisonment which was also imposed today in relation to four State based offences.

Palliser possessed significant expertise in IT and operated a business servicing and repairing computers.

In December 2009, he registered a Facebook page in a false name, adopting the identity of a young woman. He then ‘befriended’ a number of schoolboys from a Melbourne secondary school and soon after posted to the Facebook ‘Walls’ of 3 of these schoolboy’s images of child pornography.

This was detected almost immediately and Victoria Police was notified. The school was then directed to instruct students not to access their Facebook pages until they were shut down and police started examining a log of activity on the Facebook pages.

Further offending was detected when a link on the Facebook page described as a ‘Myki Training Joke’ opened a questionnaire dealing with Melbourne’s public transport ticketing system. A forensic examination revealed that while the questionnaire was in operation it was secretly downloading 45 images repeatedly onto the user’s computer and into the ‘My Pictures’ folder. This conduct constituted unauthorised modification to the user’s computer.

A few months later in February 2011, a senior executive associated with the Myki organisation happened to find the images.

The records obtained by Victoria Police from Facebook provided an IP address which through the assistance of telecommunications companies identified the Palliser’s residence as the source of the user.

A search warrant was executed and computer equipment was seized—multiple computers, disks, hard drives and other items which contained over 80 terabytes of data. Although most of this data was encrypted, forensic experts were able to find evidence establishing that Palliser was the creator of the Myki Training Joke. Many images of child pornography were also located on his equipment.

Rapid advances in technology mean the opportunity for criminals to commit offences and exploit young and innocent people are more prevalent.

‘The exploitation of children and young people has been inadvertently facilitated and enhanced by the availability of the internet, and now the risk is even greater with social media platforms being so widely used in the community’, said David Adsett, Deputy Director of the CDPP.

‘Palliser’s offending and term of imprisonment should serve as a double warning—to parents and carers to be more vigilant of what their kids may be exposed to, and to potential offenders, that you will be caught and face the full force of the law’, added Adsett.

Palliser’s offending in this matter comprised the dissemination of child pornography entirely through the use of computers and the internet. However, in 2007 he was also convicted of disseminating images of child pornography in paper form to strangers in shopping centres throughout Melbourne in the month before Christmas. Evidence of that striking and unusual course of offending was also relevant to identifying Palliser as the offender in 2010 and was relied on by the prosecution in this trial.

Charges:

Palliser was found guilty by a jury of 12 on 7 May 2015 and sentenced on 8 September 2015 for:

  • three counts of transmitting child pornography contrary to subsection 474.19(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth)
  • two counts of unauthorised modification of data held in a computer with intent to commit a serious offence contrary to subsection 477.1(4) of the Criminal Code (Cth)
  • two counts of knowingly possessing child pornography contrary to section 70(1) Crimes Act 1958 (Vic).

Palliser also pleaded guilty on 26 June 2015 to two counts of failing to comply with reporting obligations contrary to section 46(1) of the Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic).

The maximum penalty for the Commonwealth offences is 15 years imprisonment.

The maximum penalty for the State offences is 5 years imprisonment.

CDPP Media Contact: communications@cdpp.gov.au or 02 6206 5708