Young man caught with 15,000 child exploitation images
MATTHEW Aaron Robinson was caught with more than 15,000 child exploitation images on his hard drive.
The vast majority of the images were "category one images", which showed children aged between five and 13 wearing dance costumes posing in positions described as "innocuous" to "provocative", the District Court in Mackay heard.
However, there was one category four image, which Judge Richard Jones said was "disturbing".
A very limited number of images involved young children.
No category five images were found on Robinson's computer, which Judge Jones said might be the only factor keeping him out of jail.
"It's a sad indictment on our society that the legal system has had to form categories from one to five to distinguish between levels of depravity," Judge Jones said.
Offences such as this strengthen an industry that concentrates its efforts on the most vulnerable people in society, he said.
A police search on November 24, 2011, brought the offence to light.
Defence barrister Bronwyn Hartigan said Robinson, then 19, had "taken significant steps toward rehabilitation".
Now 20, Robinson voluntarily saw a psychologist from November 2011 to March this year and planned to continue his attendance.
He expressed significant remorse to his psychologist, Ms Hartigan said.
Robinson was not "looking for four-year-olds", she said.
The images were retrieved "in bulk", the court heard.
Prosecution was pushing for actual time in custody, while the defence argued a suspended sentence was within range.
"You only have to have one look at him to know how difficult it will be for him in prison," Judge Jones said.
He said in some cases "short periods of imprisonment may well do more harm than good".
Robinson was jailed for 18 months, which was wholly suspended for two-and-a-half years.