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Sex offender on child porn charges

A convicted Lismore sex offender listed on the Child Protection Register has been put on a four-year good behaviour bond after pleading guilty in Lismore Local Court to five counts of possessing child pornography.
Dennis Johnson, 27, appeared for sentence before Magistrate R. Denes on Thursday after pleading guilty last month to having the images on his mobile phone, a USB stick and MP3 player police seized from his room at a Lismore hotel in February.
The offender, with previous offences for malicious damage, assault, break and enter and child protection offences, came under police notice on February 5 when he was seen by officers with his bicycle in Heritage Park near a children’s play area and skate park.
Police documents before the court state Johnson must keep away from areas where children frequent or play, including public swimming pools or within 50m of schools and their grounds, because he was on the Child Protection Register.
Johnson, who is deaf and mute, communicated with police that day using pen and paper before he was searched.
On his mobile phone were found two images police state depicted naked children under the age of 16 and aged between eight and 12.
Johnson communicated to police he downloaded the pictures in a public library from a Russian website.
His room was then searched and more images were found on the MP3 player and USB.
It was said during his previous court appearance by defence lawyer Steve Bolt that some of the 22 images found in the possession of his client were copies of the same image that had been recorded on the different devices.
Described as a difficult sentencing exercise Ms Denes took into account all matters put before her by defence and prosecution including the categories the pornographic images fell into using the European Copine scale that evaluates and determines the level of seriousness.
The images were regarded as not being in the worst categories on the scale of one to 10 (worst).
Two of the images were found to be in category eight, one in category six, and the remainder at level five, four and below.
Police officers in the Richmond Target Action Group found no evidence of Johnson having shared the images by forwarding them to anyone else.
He will be supervised by Probation Services during the four years.

www.northernstar.com.au (1-11-2010)

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