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Recidivist child porn offender returned to jail

A 59-YEAR-OLD man who continued to download and view child exploitation material on his computer just days after being handed a suspended jail sentence for the same offending has been sent back to jail.

Danny James Owens had an "appalling" criminal history that included about 70 convictions for mainly property and fraud offences, Toowoomba District Court heard.

However, among those convictions was the rape of a nine-year-old boy in the mid-1990s for which he was jailed for eight years.

In 2007 he rented a laptop computer but when he returned it a staff member at the hire store found images of child exploitation material while he was cleaning the computer's disks and contacted police, the court heard.

Warwick police found thousands of child exploitation material images on the laptop.

Owens pleaded guilty before Warwick District Court in 2010 to those offences and was sentenced to two years in jail but the term was suspended in full after the sentencing judge took into account he had already spent 225 days in pre-sentence custody.

However, though police had seized the laptop computer when he was arrested, a computer disk containing hundreds of child exploitation material had been missed and just days after he was sentenced Owens had downloaded some of those images onto a laptop computer.

That computer was seized by police and found to contain about a few hundred images of child pornography, the court heard.

Owens had then fallen off the radar and was not found by police until February last year when he was taken into custody.

He had served a full year in custody before appearing before Toowoomba District Court to plead guilty to downloading the child pornography from the computer disk.

He also pleaded guilty to eight counts of failing to report to police as required as a "reportable offender" under the Child Protection Act.

His barrister Robbie Davies told the court his client had endured a very difficult childhood which had included time spent inside the notorious Westbrook Boys Prison when in his teens.

A truck driver by occupation, his client was medicated for depression, Mr Davies said.

Judge Deborah Richards said Owens had spent enough time in pre-sentence custody for the offences arising from the failing to report and the most recent child pornography charges.

However, she said she intended activating in full the suspended sentence he had been subject to when he committed the offences of failing to report to police and possessing child exploitation material.

"You were well aware you needed to comply with the suspended sentence," she said.

For the most recent offences, Judge Richards sentenced Owens to 12 months in jail but declared the 365 days he had spent in pre-sentence custody as time served under that sentence.

Judge Richards activated the remainder of Owens' suspended sentence in full, which was one year and 140 days, but ordered he be eligible to apply for release on parole as from July 4 this year after having served five months of that term.

In sentencing him, Judge Richards noted Owen's lengthy criminal history.

"Whether you get that (parole) or not, given your criminal history Mr Owens, but you can apply," she said.

Topics:  child porn, court, jail, offender, sex offender, toowoomba


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