Sentencing Council

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Relevance of addiction in child abuse material offences

NSW Court of Criminal Appeal, 2 July 2018

Gold v R [2018] NSWCCA 135

The offender pleaded guilty to a number of offences involving the sexual exploitation of children, including possessing and disseminating child abuse material and grooming a child for unlawful sexual activity.

The District Court sentenced the offender to an aggregate sentence of 6 years and 6 months imprisonment with a non-parole period of 4 years.

In appealing the sentence to the CCA, the offender alleged that the sentencing judge failed adequately to take into account the offender's mental condition at the time of the offences.

The offender relied on evidence at sentencing from medical and psychiatric experts about the offender's anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive personality disorder and process addiction.

In rejecting the appeal, Justice Button observed:

"[I]t has been confirmed for almost twenty years that the criminal law of New South Wales is that even dependence on a highly addictive drug such as heroin or crystal methylamphetamine (ice) is not, except in unusual circumstances, a mitigating feature on sentence... If that be the case, it is very difficult to see how an addiction to child pornography could play such a role.