Brisbane man jailed for 8 years for abusing children overseas

A 57-year-old Brisbane man was yesterday (31 January 2022) sentenced to 8 years’ imprisonment for sexually abusing children in the Philippines and online exploitation offences.

Five children in the Philippines were rescued and removed from further harm in 2019 as a result of AFP and Philippine National Police (PNP) investigations in Australia and the Philippines.

He was sentenced in the Brisbane District Court to eight years with non-parole period of four years imprisonment after pleading guilty in March 2021 to 17 offences.

The man was initially charged in September 2019 by Australian Border Force officers for possessing child exploitation material, which they found on his phone when they examined it after he returned to Australia on a flight from the Philippines.

They referred the matter to Australian Federal Police and investigators from the Brisbane Joint-Anti Child Exploitation Team who further examined the man’s electronic devices. AFP investigators uncovered evidence he had abused children during trips to the Philippines after communicating with them from Australia via social media.

As a result of the investigation, the AFP International Command in the Philippines referred intelligence to authorities in the Philippines and the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Centre (PICACC). In December 2019, a PNP investigation resulted in the rescue of five child victims in the Visayas region of the Philippines.

AFP Constable Sharlene Hamblin said international borders were not a deterrence to the AFP when it came to protecting children from exploitation and abuse.

“We have strong partnerships in the Philippines and we all have the same goal of stopping those people who seek to harm children and ending the cycle of abuse,” she said.

The PICACC is a hub for domestic Philippine and foreign law enforcement collaborative efforts to combat online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC) across the Philippines and comprises the AFP, PNP, National Bureau of Investigation, the United Kingdom National Crime Agency, the International Justice Mission and the Dutch National Police Force.

The full list of charges are:

· One count of using a carriage service to solicit child pornography material, contrary to section 474.19(1)(a)(iv) of the Criminal Code (Cth). The maximum penalty is 15 years imprisonment;

· Two counts of using a carriage service to cause child pornography material to be transmitted to himself, contrary to section 474.19(1)(a)(ii) of the Criminal Code (Cth). The maximum penalty is 15 years imprisonment;

· One count of preparing for planning an offence against this division, contrary to section 272.20(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth). The maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment;

· One count of producing child pornography material for use through a carriage service, contrary to section 474.20(1)(a)(ii) of the Criminal Code (Cth). The maximum penalty is 15 years imprisonment;

· One count of persistent sexual activity outside Australia, contrary to section 272.11 of the Criminal Code (Cth). The maximum penalty is 25 years imprisonment;

· Four counts of producing child pornography material outside of Australia, contrary to section 273.5(1)(a)(ii) of the Criminal Code (Cth). The maximum penalty is 15 years imprisonment;

· One count of sexual activity (other than sexual intercourse) with a child outside Australia, contrary to section 272.9(1)(c) of the Criminal Code (Cth). The maximum penalty is 15 years imprisonment;

· Two counts of producing child abuse material outside of Australia, contrary to section 273.6(1)(a)(ii) of the Criminal Code (Cth). The maximum penalty is 15 years imprisonment;

· One count of groom a child to engage in sexual activity outside Australia, contrary to section 272.15(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth). The maximum penalty is 12 years imprisonment;

· One count of intentionally import Tier 2 goods, contrary to section 233BAB(5) of the Customs Act 1901 (Cth). The maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment; and

· Two counts of possess child exploitation material, contrary to section 228D of the Criminal Code (Qld). The maximum penalty 14 years imprisonment.

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