A BENDIGO man has pleaded guilty to multiple child pornography charges that were so serious they could not be heard in the Magistrates Court, and had to determined by a judge in the County Court.
Robert Patrick Clohesy, aged 21, appeared via videolink from custody on Wednesday, when he pleaded guilty to accessing child abuse material, and two counts of possession of child abuse material, which carry a maximum penalty of 10 years.
The court heard that Clohesy was 20 at the time of the offending and lived alone in Bendigo.
Police found 6285 videos and photographs depicting child abuse across 10 different devices and a story that was sexual in nature about two prepubescent boys engaging in various sexual acts was also found in the notes section of his phone.
The majority of the files found by police was of boys aged 10 to 14.
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Clohesy was also in possession of files depicting bestiality.
"This offending is high level," Prosecutor Andrew Moore said.
"The descriptions of the type of material were very disturbing."
Mr Moore said Clohesy was still young and that was important in regard to the offending and the sentencing.
Mr Moore said community protection was also an important factor to consider.
Barrister Olivia Thompson represented Clohesy and made several submissions to the court on his behalf.
"It's acknowledged that the offending in this matter is serious," Ms Thompson said.
"He is a serious sex offender."
Ms Thompson said the child abuse material was not shared or distributed with others, it was not sold for profit, and he didn't create any child pornography himself.
"Its not in the worst category of offending. The offending was not sophisticated."
Judge Gucciardo said by viewing child abuse material, Clohesy effectively shared it.
"He continued offending in the face of being raided the first time,' Judge Gucciardo said.
"That's an aggravation in the offending."
The court heard Clohesy suffered from mental health issues including major depression, which he was medicated for. His lawyer detailed how her client's mental health had worsened.
Clohesy also had ADHD and autism, and had difficulty in forming social relationships.
Mr Moore said there was little doubt that Clohesy had a lot of challenges in his life.
Ms Thompson said Clohesy had the support of his family, including his mother who attended court, was cooperative with police and was optimistic about his prospects of obtaining further education and rehabilitation.
Ms Thompson said her client expressed remorse and was assessed and his risk of reoffending was found to be low. She submitted to the court Clohesy should be placed on a community corrections order because prison would not be good for him due to his behavioral and mental health conditions, young age and vulnerability which would make him more likely to be exploited in the prison system.
Ms Thompson also said there would be limited opportunities for her client in prison for counselling, alcohol and drug treatment, and sex offender behaviour programs which he needs.
She said he demonstrated ability to comply with court orders and treatment on a voluntary basis.
Mr Moore said Clohesy should be jailed with a non parole period and a community corrections order to address his behavior and protect the community.
"Child pornography can only survive and flourish if people like Mr Clohesy watch and access it online like he did," Mr Moore said.
The police went to his house and seized the material and then returned and found further photos and images.
"It's very concerning," Mr Moore said.
Clohesy, who had already served 128 days in custody, was remanded in custody until Friday April 8 for sentencing before Judge Gucciardo.
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