Two Northern Territory Supreme Court judges have rejected prosecutor’s attempts to increase what they called a “manifestly inadequate” jail sentence handed to a former NT Police officer who was found to have groomed men and induced them into producing sexually explicit videos that included children.
- Former NT police officer Jared Porch pleaded guilty to 12 child abuse material offences in March last year
- He was later sentenced to four years and nine months in jail with a non-parole period of 18 months
- Judges said the sentence was appropriate following a Commonwealth appeal
Warning: This story contains details of abuse that may disturb readers.
Jared Kane Porch, a serving police officer in Alice Springs at the time of his offending, is serving a four-year-and-nine-month jail sentence with a non-parole period of 18 months, after he pleaded guilty to a string of child abuse material charges last year.
Labelling Porch’s offences “reprehensible” and “extremely grave”, Commonwealth lawyers appealed that sentence in July, arguing he took advantage of vulnerable people and that general deterrence was paramount.
But in the Northern Territory Supreme Court on Thursday morning, Justice Peter Barr and Meredith Day Huntingford handed down the final decision in the case, saying the sentencing judge had made no error.
“We reject the appellant’s contention that the individual sentences were manifestly inadequate,” they said.
According to court documents, between July 2020 and November 2021 Porch sent and received child abuse material and solicited child abuse videos, some in exchange for money.
Court documents state he asked people to find young children to engage in sexual activity with him and after his arrest police found him in possession of six items of child abuse material.
On several occasions Porch paid hundreds of dollars to a father in exchange for videos of him performing sexual acts on his sleeping son, which judges described as the “most serious of the offences committed”.
The prosecution had submitted the offending was particularly grave because Porch was a serving police officer involved in the “corruption and exploitation of Aboriginal people amongst whom he lived and worked”.
They also argued that Porch had persuaded the father on a number of different occasions “even after [he] indicated he was reluctant to use his son in the videos”.
But in handing down their decision on Thursday, Justice Barr and Justice Huntingford said that while the conduct was “appalling”, they did not consider “there was error in the approach of the sentencing judge”.
They said matters in relation to the “objective seriousness of the respondent’s conduct” needed to be taken into account, including that the child did not engage in any sexual activity.
“It appears that he was used as a ‘prop’ in the making of the respondent’s masturbation videos, and was manipulated for that purpose,” the judges said.
“The second matter is that it is unclear from the Crown facts whether the child was awake or remained awake for the activities described.”
The judges said prosecutors had made a number of concessions during the course of sentencing proceedings, including that there was no evidence that Porch “planned to meet up with any children” and that the number of child abuse material images was comparatively small.
“The sentencing Judge’s approach was influenced by those factors,” they said.
“We do not agree the adjustments made by her honour resulted in a sentence which did not adequately reflect the seriousness of each and every offence.”