‘Terrified’: Jail scare for downloading child rape pics
WARNING: Disturbing content
A man who was "terrified" of going to jail after downloading hundreds of child abuse images has walked from court.
Seth Vincent Aslette was handed a suspended sentence on Monday after he spent 10 months viewing images of children being sexually abused.
Maroochydore District Court heard the 29-year-old used a program to wipe the files from his computer but police were able to track his activity.
They searched his Beerwah home on August 14 last year to find 25 of the files left on his computer.
Judge Jennifer Rosengren said he had downloaded more than 300 images of children being exploited.
"There were images depicting a boy about 12 years of age engaged in sexual acts with an adult female," Judge Rosengren said.
Police also found a video about three minutes long which showed a man raping a girl.
"It's a pre-pubescent female child, about 10 years of age, engaging in sexual intercourse and other sexual acts with an adult male," Judge Rosengren said.
Crown prosecutor Christopher Cook said Aslette, when interviewed, denied downloading, processing or sharing the images.
"The offence is not a victimless crime," Mr Cook said.
"It's supports an industry which takes advantage of vulnerable children."
Mr Cook said police also found 18g of marijuana and drug utensils at Aslette's home.
He was previously placed on a good behaviour bond for the drug offences.
Aslette's partner and sister sat in court on Monday when he pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child exploitation material.
The maximum penalty is 14 years in jail.
Mr Cook and defence barrister Mark Dixon agreed judge Rosengren could impose a suspended sentence by finding exceptional circumstances in the case.
"The Crown points to the level of offending to make such a finding and the fact that there was only 25 images remaining when police executed the search warrant," Mr Cook said.
Mr Dixon added that his client had seen a doctor who was of the opinion Aslette suffered from depression and childhood autism.
"It impacts his ability to understand or recognise social cues and impacts his ability to understand emotion in other people," Mr Dixon said.
"That's quite typical of an autism diagnosis.
"He instructs that those difficulties led to him experiencing social isolation in school and perhaps more importantly severe bullying."
Judge Rosengren said she was concerned Aslette hadn't been treated by a psychologist more than a year after he was charged.
"He had deleted some of the images and he didn't co-operate with the authorities," she said.
"I'm a bit concerned that there's any insight around this."
Mr Dixon said his client would be deterred from reoffending after realising he would likely be a target to fellow inmates if he was jailed.
"For any individual with his particular difficulties, it's been a terrifying experience," Mr Dixon said.
"He has spent a significant period of time focused on 'will I be going to jail as a result of what I have done'?"
Mr Cook said Aslette would be required to notify police of his social media accounts, devices, address and contact with any children.
Judge Rosengren said deterring the public from similar offending was her primary sentencing consideration.
"The children depicted in those videos and images are actually being subjected to sexual abuse, physical hurt and psychological scarring," she said.
"So what your conduct does is encourage the abhorrent sexual exploitation of young vulnerable children.
"And it is of serious concern in our society that this material is so readily accessible."
Aslette was sentenced to 15 months in jail, wholly suspended for two years.
"You come before this court again with another charge of child exploitation material of any nature, you are sure to serve a period of imprisonment," Judge Rosengren said.