US Homeland Security busts Twba man for child porn

A UNITED States Homeland Security operation targeting those accessing child exploitation material had detected a Toowoomba man accessing child pornography on his home computer, the city's District Court heard.

The US authorities eventually forwarded the information detected in 2010 to Queensland police who last year attended the Toowoomba home of Shane Bruce McTaggart.

Crown prosecutor Kathleen Millican told the court a laptop computer seized from the house and forensically examined found 5731 images and 29 movies of child exploitation material.

Ms Millican said most of the material was of the less serious categories of such images, although there had been some more explicit categories as well.

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McTaggart, 49, pleaded guilty to possessing and accessing child exploitation material.

Ms Millican submitted child pornography was not a victimless crime and the images depicted real children "somewhere in the world being violated".

However, defence barrister Robbie Davies explained his client had suffered a range of mental health issues including depression, anxiety and panic.

A psychological report tender to the court diagnosed his client as "major depressive disorder severe" and his offending arose from his own traumatic childhood.

His client had been undergoing counselling for a number of years and was medicated and the psychologist reports rated him a low risk of ever re-offending, he said.

Judge Sarah Bradley said the child pornography industry only existed because of consumers who accessed it and that adults caught doing so could ordinarily expect to be sent to prison.

However, taking into account McTaggart's mental health conditions, his background and that he had no relevant criminal history, he would not be going to jail, she said.

McTaggart was sentenced to 18 months jail, fully suspended for two years, ordered to be of good behaviour for three years and placed on two years probation.



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