Why repeat child porn offender isn't in jail

 

A REPEAT child porn offender has incredibly avoided serving a day behind bars after a Cairns judge ruled the 1500-plus images found on his phone weren't quite as vile as the first time he was busted.

Mena Creek man Dennis Gerard Brincat, 40, was only three years out of jail and a reportable offender when police seized his mobile phone under his bedroom mattress at the family cane farm in April last year.

He initially told them he had taken his phone to the dump after running over it.

Despite hundreds of images, some in serious categories of exploitation, Judge Dean Morzone elected not to make Brincat serve a single day of jail time, instead handing him a fully suspended 18-month sentence and 18 months probation.

He said prison was "unlikely to have any impact" and suggested his offending behaviour was "improving" because none of the images found were in the more serious category four unlike his original offending.

This was despite him ruling the risk of reoffending was "moderate" if Brincat did not seek psychological support.

The sentence outraged founder and executive director of child-protection organisation Bravehearts, Hetty Johnston, who said the court system was not viewing child porn possession as "serious crime".

"It is incredibly disappointing this repeat offender walked free," she said. "It's as though it's not a crime, it's a misdemeanour and it's absolutely not a misdemeanour."

Mena Creek man Dennis Brincat, 40, has been sentenced for child porn possession. Picture: Facebook
Mena Creek man Dennis Brincat, 40, has been sentenced for child porn possession. Picture: Facebook

The Cairns District Court heard Brincat served six months jail for possessing, accessing and distributing child exploitation material before his release in March 2016.

Defence barrister James Sheridan said he had become a target of public abuse on Innisfail streets since his first conviction and this would continue.

"Innisfail is the type of community he can't simply escape away from," he said.

Judge Morzone concurred.

"I do accept in a small town such as Innisfail you did feel in a very significant way the public backlash to this type of offending," he said.

Crown prosecutor Gelma Meoli had submitted for an 18-month sentence with actual jail time and said he had "lied deliberately" to police about the phone which amplified the offending. Brincat had earlier pleaded guilty to possessing child exploitation material and providing false or misleading information.

Originally published as Why repeat child porn offender will not serve any jail time


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