Wollongong child porn offender 'punished enough'

A mentally ill man who "sexted" an under-age Scottish girl he met on the internet will walk free from jail next week after a judge ruled the time he had already spent behind bars was sufficient punishment for his crimes.

Andrew Morgan, 44, faced Wollongong District Court on Thursday for sentencing on charges of using a carriage service to send indecent material, using a carriage service to groom a person under 16 and possessing child pornography. He was sentenced to 13 months' prison, but will be released next Thursday after presiding judge Paul Conlon agreed to backdate the start of Morgan's sentence to when he was first brought into custody last May.

Judge Conlon noted reports from two doctors that said Morgan's offending behaviour was largely linked to his mental illness, which included a history of schizophrenia and delusional tendencies.

The court heard Morgan, who has previous convictions for child pornography, was found with three illegal images on his phone when police searched it during a traffic stop in Berkeley last January.

In a later investigation, officers found communication between Morgan and the 14-year-old Scottish girl in which Morgan repeatedly sent her messages of a sexual nature via Facebook.

The court heard the girl had accepted Morgan's friend request in October 2012 despite not knowing him. Between December 2012 and May 2013, Morgan sent the girl multiple messages, as well as at least one photo of his genitals.

Judge Conlon said the nature of Morgan's exchanges with the girl, in which he spoke of them being engaged, referred to his house as "our place" and talked about how she might become involved in his business, clearly demonstrated his "delusional" state at the time.

He accepted the grooming element of the charge was different to the usual such cases that came before the court, noting that Morgan and the girl, in all likelihood, were never destined to meet.

As part of the conditions of his release from jail, Morgan will be subjected to supervision from community corrections officers, as well as ongoing counselling and treatment programs.

Judge Conlon warned Morgan against committing further, similar crimes.

"You're a person who doesn't belong in jail Mr Morgan, but if you keep offending, that's where you will end up," he said.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop