Child pornography kept under front counter

A shareholder of a central Bendigo retail business kept child pornographic videos on a hard drive stored under the front counter, a court has been told.

Nathan Smith-Clark, 43, pleaded guilty in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court last week to one count of possessing child exploitation material.

Detectives from the Bendigo Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team raided the Metal Mosh premises in October 2012, seizing a number of PC towers and hard drives.

Metal Mosh was located at an upstairs location at the intersection of Mitchell and Myers streets at the time, and has since moved closer to Pall Mall on Mitchell Street.

The Victoria Police E-Crime Squad analysed the devices in September 2013.

A PC tower, stored in the residential area of the business, contained two images showing three boys under the age of 18 engaged in sexual acts.

A hard drive kept under the front counter contained three videos of boys under the age of 18 engaging in sexual activity.

Smith-Clark initially denied possession of the devices when he was first interviewed by police in September 2014.

The court heard the Australian Taxation Office found the business was not keeping records of its employees, and police could not confirm who came in contact with the PC tower and hard drive.

New information from the Frankston Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team earlier this year allowed police to press the possession charge, and Smith-Clark pleaded guilty in Bendigo on Wednesday last week.

Defence counsel Hannah Wilson said Smith-Clark had long-standing mental health issues connected with his abuse as a child that may have contributed to his offending.

Magistrate Jennifer Tregent ordered a psychiatric and pre-sentencing report.

Smith-Clark will be sentenced in February.

Metal Mosh is an alternative music and clothing retailer.

  • The Bendigo Advertiser originally reported Nathan Smith-Clark, was the owner of Metal Mosh in Mitchell Street.  Smith-Clark is a major shareholder in the company that owns the business, however no longer works in the shopfront. Metal Mosh Pty Ltd is also owned by two other parties, who manage the store and are not in any way connected to Smith-Clark's court appearance.