Hobby photographer says nude pics of minor for 'art'

NUDE photos of a young girl were taken solely for artistic purposes, a Sunshine Coast hobby photographer told Maroochydore District Court.

The 66-year-old man pleaded guilty to 15 child exploitation charges - seven counts of making child exploitation material and eight counts of possessing child exploitation material - when he appeared for sentencing yesterday. Crown prosecutor Alex Stark told the court police had learnt of the offences thanks to a tip-off from Officeworks staff, who raised the alarm on July 4 last year after the man had dropped off images, including nude photos of the girl, aged 10 when the offending began, for processing.

Mr Stark made note of the unique nature of the case.

"This is an unusual - arguably a unique case," he said.

The victim's mother had given her consent for the photography to take place, and had even joined her daughter in a number of the naked shoots, which happened on at least four occasions over four years.

The man and the victim's mother had met as part of a local art group, where the mother posed as a nude model for the artists, when the man began photographing her privately.

Mr Stark said the man had then approached the mother about getting her daughter involved in the photo shoots.

Defence barrister Stephen Courtney told the court his client had taken up art again in 2000.

He had been using the child's mother in nude works for some time before he raised the prospect of her daughter becoming involved.

He said his client, a former PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and depression sufferer, had the mother sign a model release form for her daughter, and that the child's genitalia had not been the focus of the images.

"He (defendant) does not say it was for sexual gratification," Mr Courtney said.

Mr Stark said a number of close-ups of the child's genitalia, while in various locations and poses, were among the images numbering in their thousands that police found in a photo album, and on external hard drives and USBs.

Judge John Robertson noted the bizarre circumstances of the case in sentencing the former ambulance officer and grandfather of three.

The man was sentenced to nine months' jail, wholly suspended for 12 months.

Topics:  child exploitation court nude photography

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