A magistrate has stressed that offences involving child abuse material are not victimless crimes after a man was found with 98 items on his phone.
Adrian Nowell was sentenced in the Bendigo Magistrates' Court on Monday to a two-year community corrections order and 300 hours of community work with conviction after pleading guilty to possessing child abuse material.
"Offences such as this are not victimless crimes," magistrate Bruce Cottrill said.
"Every image, every action, every download is an exploitative act."
In sentencing, Mr Cottrill said the 98 items of child abuse material found on Nowell's phone showed girls aged 10 to 17 years old in sexualised contexts and being subjected to sexual acts.
Nowell had used a search engine to find the material.
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Mr Cottrill noted Nowell had made admissions to police when interviewed, but said these were limited to some extent.
He said Nowell had also made mention of the material as a "form of art".
"I dismiss that entirely," Mr Cottrill said.
Mr Cottrill said people who offended against children deserved the "utmost condemnation".
But he did acknowledge that Nowell had no prior history and a psychiatric report noted his expression of remorse.
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Mr Cottrill also made note of the fact Nowell had attended fortnightly psychological counselling with a focus on his offending since December.
He said he accepted Nowell's guilty plea was an indication of remorse, and there were no other aggravating factors.
Given the lack of aggravating factors and the positive psychiatric report, Mr Cottrill said he should give emphasis to Nowell's rehabilitation.
As part of his community corrections order, Nowell must undergo mental health treatment and offender behaviour programs as directed.
He will also remain on the sex offenders register for eight years and must provide police with a DNA sample.
Nowell's phone will be destroyed.
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