PORN CHARGES: Paul Wight has pleaded guilty to possessing child porn.
PORN CHARGES: Paul Wight has pleaded guilty to possessing child porn. Ross Irby

Bundy judge: Adult porn a gateway to child exploitation

ONE of Queensland's leading judges has aired her concerns about adult pornography as a gateway to people viewing child exploitation material.

Speaking in the Bundaberg District Court last week, Judge Leanne Clare said the issue was one of concern for the community.

Judge Clare made her comments on Thursday as she sentenced a former Bundaberg school teacher on charges relating to child porn.

Paul Wight, 54, was sentenced to three years in prison, with probation after serving 16 months, after pleading guilty to nine charges, including using a carriage service to access and make available child pornography material and possessing illegal files.

The court heard how the tutor and gymnastics coach shared 638 images of pre-pubescent children on the beach.

"This is yet another case where adult pornography is said to have been the gateway for an offender who previously had no interest sexually in children," Judge Clare said.

"It seems to me that this is becoming an issue that ought to be of real concern for the community.

"Adult pornography is not illegal, but I have now read in numerous court reports of the phenomenon of chronic users of adult pornography on the internet becom(ing) desensitised and morally ambiguous.

"The use of cookies makes the downfall easier, and the court has been told or reports suggest, that what is lawful, legal pornography, can result in both the introduction of child exploitation material to some otherwise law abiding citizens and the desensitisation and eventual capture by it."

Jude Clare said it was not unusual for formerly respectable members of the community to become involved in "this type of offending".

Ms Clare has served as a District Court of Queensland judge for nearly 10 years and was a former Queensland Director of Public Prosecutions.

The NewsMail is seeking the opinion of an academic expert in the field.