Court allows legal admission to child pornography offender

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Child pornography offences don’t hinder the ability to become a lawyer in Queensland, according to a recently released judgement.

Justices Margaret McMurdo, Phillip Morrison and Martin Burns in the Queensland Court of Appeal determined in the Queensland Court of Appeal determined that the applicant was a fit and proper person to be admitted in light of numerous criminal convictions disclosed, following the completion of all practical and academic training requirements.

“What must be determined is whether the conduct underlying a conviction, together with any explanation for it, tells against and applicant’s ability to practise as a lawyer,” the judgement said.

“Convictions for, or arising out of, child pornography offences are not prima facie evidence that a person is not a fit and proper person to remain on the roll kept by this court.”

The 24-year-old applicant was convicted of criminal offences just 10 days after he turned 17, when a police investigation targeting internet file sharing websites found him guilty of transmitting child exploitation material.

“The offences overall were concerned with a relatively small number of images and movie files compared to the number usually encountered in offending of this nature,” the judgement said, adding that the files had been accessed but not saved by the applicant.

The court determined that circumstances relating to the applicant’s offences could be considered in order to state him a fit and proper person to be admitted.  The judges ruled that the applicant’s psychotherapeutic rehabilitation following his conviction resolved his initial diagnosis of depression.

The judges noted that admitting an applicant on the child protection register might negatively affect the public perception of the legal profession, members of the public to not have access to the register.  The applicant will remain on the child protection register for a further 16 months from the date of the hearing.
  • Terry on 26/02/2017 11:59:01 PM

    Perhaps the commenters on here should actually educate themselves and look at real-world empirical evidence about child pornography offending. It is also a mistake to assume pedophilia all the time. More and more evidence is coming to light that many of these offenders have a broad range of deviant porn tastes (of which child pornography is just a part) and that they are not pedophiles (sexual preference for pre-pubescent children), nor is there a link to progression to contact offending, or high rates of recidivism - something also assumed by the masses. Yes, CP offending is wrong and immoral, but the media and politician-driven hype is largely grounded in myth.

  • Donna Nagel on 15/09/2015 8:33:16 AM

    Doesn't Qld have a bit of history of leniency toward child sex offenders? For instance, as of April 2013, only 3 of 238 convicted men were jailed and only for the minimum sentence.*
    I would be asking the Judiciary Why, and for the personal views of involved judges regarding paedophilia.

    *The Daily Telegraph, April 29, 2013

  • David Cleverley on 8/09/2015 10:38:30 PM

    High Court Appeal.

  • Tara on 3/09/2015 5:19:48 PM

    Not evidence that his convictions are in conflict with his profession? How about the fact that regardless of what area of law he starts off in he could change later and he could, at any point, be representing a child or a family who have no right or ability to know that this guy has child sex offence convictions? Or that if he represents a child sex offender in the future then he could be accessing material as evidence that would be incredibly beyond inappropriate for him to have? That even reading evidence briefs (which can be extremely detailed in their own right) could be titilating enough to him to set in motion a chain reaction leading to him seeking such material again or into directly offending against a child? That it could put him direct contact with other people who are aroused by children and potential connections to networks etc which, as a practicing lawyer, would be much harder to police than if he where seeking such groups and people online from his home pc or device due to face-face conversations comming under client confidentiality? The fact that if he is ever at any point cross examining a victim of sex crimes (regardless of age) the fact that he is guilty of sex crimes himself is a clear contradiction? Or the fact that if he ever serves time as a public defender he can't refuse inappropriate cases (IF he wanted to do the right thing)? This board is not only out of touch with the public, they're out of touch with reality - how difficult is it to comprehend that a convicted criminal who was found guilty of child sex offences just might not be the right person for a job where they are not only providing legal council and representation, but where he could be in contact with children, victims of sex crimes, and sex offenders?! This guy deserves every possible opportunity to try and rehabilitate and prevent himself from offending again, and if he was once finding children sexually arousing then it is likely something that he will have to fight within himself for the rest of his life and could find himself in challenging situations where such feelings return - by putting him in a position where he could have access to people and material that could be triggers the board is showing not only their lack of consideration for this guy specifically but a clear and demonstrated lack of understanding of child sex offenders and that in itself raises serious doubts as to the competence of the board members themselves to make appropriate decisions and judgements not only in this type of situation but also in their own courts. How can a judge who thinks it's perfectly appropriate for a convicted child sex offender to be a lawyer be qualified to preside over court cases involving child sex offences? The actions of judges and lawyers should be subject to a government enquiry. They are not untouchable, they are not high and mighty, and history to present day has proven that they are more than capable of making profoundly rediculous rulings regarding child welfare. Yet again, another lousy and disgusting ruling by people who should be qualified enough to know better. SHAME!

  • Louise Steer on 1/09/2015 3:09:03 PM

    That decision is disgusting. The Queensland Court of Appeal is out of touch with public opinion. In what way is a pedophile a fit and proper person for any profession? They cannot guarantee he will not re offend, or commit worse offences ie physical offences. In NSW, the Deputy Crown Prosecutor was jailed for storing child pornography on his computer. Rightly so. In Queensland, they are letting this creep practice. Why not tell us his name so we know never to send him work? Why protect him from the consequences of his actions? Who will protect the women and children he may encounter in legal practice? No one can guarantee he advises only adult men. Who will ensure he never offends again? Depression is never an excuse for such crimes. Depression is rife in the legal profession and most depressed lawyers do not commit crimes, in particular crimes of this nature. No excuses, no tolerance. Keep pedophiles out of the legal profession!

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