Rhys Jaden Friend faced Maroochydore District Court after breaching a suspended sentence by failing to report a Snapchat account within seven days.
Rhys Jaden Friend faced Maroochydore District Court after breaching a suspended sentence by failing to report a Snapchat account within seven days.

Snapchat account lands child porn offender in court

A 20-year-old man who was caught with more than 2000 images and videos of child pornography has breached the terms of his suspended sentence by failing to report a new Snapchat account on time.

Rhys Jaden Friend was sentenced in September last year after pleading guilty to possessing and distributing child exploitation material, the Maroochydore District Court heard on Tuesday.

He was sentenced to three years probation for possessing child exploitation material and was given one year in jail, wholly suspended for three years for distributing child exploitation material.

A conviction was recorded for the distribution of the material but not the possessing.

In May 2019 police uncovered the material while executing a search warrant on the then 18-year-old's Sippy Downs house.

Crown prosecutor Ms Masoumi said Friend was found to have distributed the material by using a pseudonym to contact a "Bob Smith" and sending a hyperlink to material which showed pre-pubescent boys engaging in sexual acts.

She said the majority of the material in Friend's possession was under category 1 and 2, but 186 unique files were under category 4.

Category 4 child exploitation material involves a child being penetrated by either another child or adult.

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When sentencing Friend in September, Judge Richard Jones imposed probation rather than time in custody as it would provide him with the best prospects of rehabilitation, the court heard.

Friend, who is a reportable offender under the Child Protection Act, found himself back before the court on Tuesday after breaching the suspended sentence.

Ms Masoumi said Friend was charged with the breach after he failed to tell the registry about a new Snapchat account within seven days, as per his reporting conditions.

She said he opened a new account on December 2 and did not report the account until January 4.

Ms Masoumi said police attended Friend's address on January 12 and questioned why he had reported late.

Defence lawyer Mark Dixon said Friend had known he was obligated to report new social media accounts and said he attempted to find out how to after opening the account.

Mr Dixon said Friend could not find where he had to report, but realised he "really had to" after "sitting on it" for about three weeks.

"(The offending) doesn't go beyond opening an account and being three weeks late in reporting," he said.

"There is no suggestion of anything untoward."

Mr Dixon said Friend was a young man with an "immature approach to life" who was also on the autism spectrum.

He said Friend was doing well on probation and while he had failed his obligation on this occasion he was "doing everything that was asked of him."

Ms Masoumi said the breach was not as serious as Friend's original offending but said the offence was serious as social media activity could be difficult to detect and required police to investigate.

She said it would be unjust to activate the whole or part of the suspended sentence based on this offending.

"However it wouldn't be unjust to extend the operational period by a short time, that is two to three months," she said.

Judge Gary Long said hopefully Friend had learned his lesson and realised how strict the reporting conditions were for offenders.

He said Friend was performing satisfactorily on probation, was engaged with a psychologist and was "progressing."

He extended the three year operational period of Friend's suspended sentence by two months.



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