A theatre boss well known in arts circles has been sentenced for possessing child exploitation material.
A theatre boss well known in arts circles has been sentenced for possessing child exploitation material.

Former theatre boss had child abuse material

A former university lecturer and drama teacher who held a senior position at one of Brisbane's best-loved and oldest theatres has been sentenced for possessing child exploitation material (CEM).

The Gap resident Anthony Francis Millett, 80, former principal of the College of Theatre Practice, Brisbane Arts Theatre's training arm, pleaded guilty in Brisbane District Court on Tuesday to the single charge, which stemmed from a September 17, 2016 search warrant executed by police on his address.

The court heard Millett had downloaded 132 images on May 21, 2009, using a peer-to-peer platform, as well as five videos sometime during 2008.

Only one of the videos, depicting two "naked teenage girls rubbing cream on each other", was considered CEM by the court.

The Gap resident Anthony Francis Millett, 80. Picture: Alex Treacy
The Gap resident Anthony Francis Millett, 80. Picture: Alex Treacy

Defence counsel James Godbolt told the court the 132 images, which had also been edited into a slide show, largely consisted of parents with "pre-pubescent children" at a nudist beach, which, while satisfying the criminal elements of the charge, were not what people typically associated "at first blush" with possessing CEM.

Mr Godbolt denied suggestions his client had been obstructive and mendacious with police, attributing the case's significant delay to the inability of the prosecution to finalise a forensic report into Millett's devices until May 28 last year.

This was because of the large number of computers, hard drives and discs present in Millett's residence, a function of his technical and administrative responsibilities at the Brisbane Arts Theatre, Mr Godbolt said.
It was accepted by the court there was no evidence Millett accessed the material or derived sexual gratification from it, merely that his criminal liability lay in having knowledge of the material on his systems.

The court heard Millett, an RAF veteran who specialised in navigation systems and qualified teacher, emigrated to Brisbane from England with his first wife in July 1974.

He taught for two years at Charters Towers State High School before becoming a speech and drama lecturer at what was then known as the Mt Gravatt College of Advanced Education, which became the Brisbane College of Advanced Education and is now Griffith University's Mt Gravatt campus.

He became a head of school in 1990, a role he held until 1994, the court heard.

In 1999, Millett became Director of Training at Petrie Terrace's historic Brisbane Arts Theatre and was associated with the theatre until he was charged in 2016, rising to the position of Principal of the College of Theatre Practice, the Theatre's training arm.

The court heard Millett is also a volunteer with the Queensland Narrating Service based at Coorparoo and wished to return to part-time drama teaching.

Judge David Kent QC sentenced Millett to 80 hours' community service and did not record a conviction in order to allow Millett to return to teaching if he could convince the Queensland College of Teacher he was a fit and proper person.

Former theatre boss, uni lecturer guilty of possessing child porn


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