Ex-firey ad­mits he pos­sessed child porn

Sunday Territorian - - NEWS - CRAIG DUN­LOP Court Re­porter

A FOR­MER North­ern Ter­ri­tory fire chief who ad­mit­ted pos­sess­ing sick­en­ing child pornog­ra­phy has faced “gru­elling pub­lic ex­po­sure”, a judge has said.

Re­tired avi­a­tion fire­fighter An­drew “Joe” Sten­house, 58, is await­ing sen­tence on a sin­gle charge of pos­sess­ing child abuse ma­te­rial in the NT Supreme Court.

Jus­tice Peter Barr said: “Pub­lic ex­po­sure is gru­elling – what­ever sen­tence the court im­poses would be noth­ing com­pared to that, I would imag­ine.”

Prose­cu­tor David Dal­rym­ple said: “(Me­dia at­ten­tion) can’t have a huge im­pact on less­en­ing a sen­tence sim­ply be­cause of a per­son’s sta­tus.”

Jus­tice Barr said Sten­house, of Moil, ap­peared to be in a “dark pe­riod in life” when he down­loaded eight dis­turb­ing videos, in­volv­ing chil­dren aged six to 10 per­form­ing sex­ual acts with other chil­dren and adults.

Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice had to foren­si­cally re­trieve the files from his USB.

The videos were ranked in the worst and sec­ond­worst cat­e­gories of child abuse ma­te­rial.

Sten­house had also down­loaded videos of peo­ple be­ing killed in ex­plo­sions. The court heard he used the ma­te­rial to “dis­tract” him­self from work stresses and health con­cerns.

De­fence lawyer Jodi Tru­man said her client had no sex­ual in­ter­est in the videos.

The court had pre­vi­ously heard Sten­house was also watch­ing videos of peo­ple be­ing killed and of ex­plo­sions.

She said Sten­house stopped down­load­ing of his own vo­li­tion about two months be­fore the po­lice raid on July 28, 2016.

Mr Dal­rym­ple said this was be­cause his stress had abated, not be­cause he had “moral in­sight”.

Jus­tice Barr or­dered a suit­abil­ity for su­per­vi­sion re­port.

The case was ad­journed to next week.

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