Illegal images on email trap teenager
ONE mouse click from an unsolicited email could mean your name is dragged through the mud as a paedophile. The ease of access to illegal images was highlighted in Gladstone Magistrates Court this week when a 17-year-old student was charged with downloading child pornography onto a computer memory stick borrowed from his school library.
On advice from Gladstone Police, The Observer has not named the school student.
Gladstone Magistrates Court this week heard the 'impulsive' teen took 23 images from an unsolicited email, many of them depicting women under 16.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Steve Morris said half of the pictures were of a sexually-explicit nature.
'One appears to be a 12-year-old female in a sexually-explicit pose,' he said.
'The defendant admitted he was the person who downloaded them from an unknown person who emailed them to him.
'He said when he couldn't delete them he took the memory stick back in the hope no-one would know he was the one who did it.'
When staff at the school saw the contents of the memory stick they contacted authorities.
Snr Const Morris went on to say the defendant had been extremely remorseful when questioned by police, and had shown them the name of the email's sender.
Yesterday investigations into the sender were continuing.
Defence lawyer Peter Vale tendered a character reference from the boy's principal.
Yesterday the father of the teenager said the incident had 'totally floored' him.
'The thing that scares me as a parent is that you can check what internet sites your children have accessed, it's not hard,'' he said.
'But with email you've got to know your child has the address. Sometimes there is no record of the free ones.
'I had no control over what happened. You ask your kids what happened and you check and then this.'
When asked yesterday what he would do if sent a similar email, the teen said he would be more open with his parents and alert the police.
His father said the incident had highlighted the need for children to have the confidence to go to their parents if approached by a predator.
'We need to do some talking because it's upsetting that he couldn't come and talk to me about it. I'd like to tell other kids to have the confidence to go and tell their parents.
'A lot of parents don't have the same computer literacy as their kids and they just don't know how to use it.'
Magistrate Mark Morrow sentenced the teenager to nine months probation, ordering he complete a thinking skills course.