Man guilty of possessing child porn

A Vietnam War veteran has been convicted of trying to buy child pornography at a Bendigo sex shop.

In October last year, Mark Bullen, 68, asked a staff member at the Club X adult shop for DVDs featuring 10-year-old girls.

When police searched his Kangaroo Flat home after the incident was reported, they seized memory cards and computer hardware which included explicit images of underage girls.

Analysis of Bullen's internet search history showed he had also visited websites relating to Bill Henson, a prominent Australian photographer known for his controversial images of young children.

Bullen pleaded guilty in Bendigo Magistrates Court on Wednesday to possessing child pornography and  attempting to commit an indictable offence.

The court heard Bullen admitted to police he had searched online for pornography featuring girls aged between 12 and 15, but didn't really believe he was guilty because his behaviour hadn't hurt anyone.

Defence lawyer Peter Cutting told the court his client had previously lived a law-abiding life, was highly regarded in his community and felt remorse and shame for his behaviour.

He said Bullen suffered from chronic post traumatic stress disorder and depression after having served in the Vietnam War, and had sought treatment.

But Mr Cutting said there was a lapse in treatment between 2008 and 2013 and said his client had turned to "a lot of pornography of all kinds" to deal with his mental health issues.

Magistrate Bruce Cottrill said psychological reports showed Bullen had suffered considerable mental distress and was unlikely to re-offend.

But he said Bullen's belief he had not hurt anyone was simplistic and wrong.

Mr Cottrill sentenced Bullen to a 24-month community corrections order with 250 hours of unpaid work.

He also ordered Bullen report as a registered sex offender for 15 years and complete the sex offender program.

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