A 44-year-old Westport man who pleaded guilty to possessing child abuse images was convicted and sentenced to two months' home detention and 250 hours of community service in Westport District Court today.
The man, who was granted name suppression for a further six months, was charged with six counts of possessing objectionable publications on March 8 last year.
Judge Raoul Neave said the images found on the man's computer were disturbing and "downright disgusting".
Most of the images were in the "less serious" category.
Many were of young girls, some of whom were engaged in sexual situations with older men. Others involved animals and defecation.
There was no suggestion that the images had been created or distributed by the defendant, Judge Neave said.
Defending, Doug Taffs said the man had found the child abuse images on the internet and developed an unhealthy attraction to it. The material was discovered by the man's wife, who immediately alerted police. She was upset and shocked and felt the need to protect their children, Mr Taffs said.
Since the offending, the man had undergone counselling and remained employed. He had shown genuine remorse for what he had done.
A report by a probation officer indicated he was at a "low-risk" of re-offending, Mr Taffs said. The offending was an isolated event and was limited to the personal computer.
Mr Taffs asked Judge Neave to give the man a shorter home detention or community detention sentence because he still needed to work to pay the mortgage on the house his ex-wife and children lived in.
Judge Neave said his level of offending warranted a "high-level" community-based sentence but, given the circumstances, community detention may not be appropriate.
Instead he sentenced the man to two months' home detention and 250 hours of community service. He said the man had no relevant prior convictions.