Porn ring a bid to 'meet friends'

A BUDERIM grandfather who claimed he ran a child porn network from his home only so he could meet new people has been jailed for two years.

Sentencing 64-year-old Peter Hays, Judge John Robertson called for extra resources to be thrown into the battle against child pornography.

Judge Robertson told Hays his jail term should serve as a warning to others in the world of child porn.

"If late at night they're accessing this sort of material they should know there is a chance police are watching and that they will be caught," he said.

"The law enforcement agencies, albeit under-resourced, understaffed and outnumbered by the almost infinite number of people involved in this sort of activity, are yet still able to enter what people think is their private internet space and bring it to the public's notice (and) bring with it the shame that will follow and the punishment that should follow," the judge said.

He told Hays that he and others who watched child porn needed to remember that the images were not of "virtual children".

"These are images of real children being abused egregiously somewhere in the world and unfortunately now we know some are in Australia on some occasions.

"That's why courts have to impose significant penalties so that in some small way we can express the community's denunciation of this sort of behaviour."

Hays had pleaded guilty in the Maroochydore District Court to knowingly possessing child exploitation material, using a carriage service to access and transmit child pornography, and three counts of making child pornography material available.

The court was told more than 40% of the files police found on his computer were ranked in the top three most serious categories of child pornography, including sadistic and animated images and videos involving adults.

Defence barrister Simon Lewis said Hays claimed to not have an interest in child pornography but only downloaded and shared files to meet homosexual men.

"He was sent some child pornography which he immediately deleted," Mr Lewis said.

"It seems around the chat rooms he was in, this became more frequent and it led him to believe if he continued to show an interest in this material that these men would communicate with him.

"He instructs me that he is not interested in a sexual way in children."

Judge Robertson said Hays knew he was involved in activities "that were offensive to any normal human being's sense of morals".

Hays will be released from jail in six months.



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